With their only competitors being write-in candidates, Andy Hurtig, senior in accounting, and Joe Tinker, junior in psychology, won the 2015 Student Governing Association election for president and vice president in a landslide.
In the general election, 2,248 votes were cast out of 20,656 eligible students (just shy of 11 percent). The duo captured 76 percent of the total votes, while candidates Alexander Bahr, sophomore in communication studies, and Matt Tobaben, junior in biology, won 24 percent.
Hurtig and Tinker celebrated their victory Wednesday night at Kite’s Grille and Bar with supporters and staff.
Tinker said he hopes they can move forward with the platforms they ran on, as well as carry on work done by current SGA president Reagan Kays, senior in agribusiness, and vice president Cody Kennedy, senior in education.
“We also want to continue with the momentum that the current administration is providing for us,” Tinker said. “There’s a number of projects that they’ve been working on, like the (K-State Student) Union project. There’s several things going on with the chilling plant and all the construction on campus. We want to make sure that we don’t drop any of those projects and ensure a seamless transition into the next term.”
Hurtig said recent state funding cuts to higher education are the biggest challenge to the university administrators’ plans to turn K-State into a top 50 research school.
“Right now, I’d definitely say balancing the 2025 initiative with the decreasing state funding (is the most challenging),” Hurtig said. “Those two things are heading in opposite directions right now. We’re going to have to find that middle ground. It’s definitely frustrating. I see why it happened, but I’m not necessarily sure I agree with the steps that were taken that led us to this situation.”
Tinker said the issue of funding will be a constant concern.
“It put us in a really difficult spot moving forward, especially since it was about seven or eight months into the fiscal year already and it (funding) was taken back,” Tinker said. “We’re gonna be scrambling and working hard to make up the deficit and that will take a lot of different entities working together to make sure that it all works out.”
According to Tinker, low student-voter participation was a concern to the team going into the election race. In this year’s primary, only 377 students turned out to vote, compared to 2014’s primary when 1,998 students voted.
“I would say the general election was closer to what it normally is,” Tinker said. “The primaries was a little bit disappointing, but I think we somewhat expected that with not really having a known competitor leading up to that election.”