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Student Council presidential candidates share their platforms

Voting opens Feb. 26 and closes Feb. 28

<p>Voting will run until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 28 and will use a single-choice preferential voting system rather than a ranked-choice system.</p>

Voting will run until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 28 and will use a single-choice preferential voting system rather than a ranked-choice system.


This year’s race for Student Council President sees two candidates, third-year College student Valentina Mendoza Gonzalez and third-year Engineering student Tyler Jones, compete for the esteemed position. The campaigning window began Feb. 19, and the two candidates have since shared their very different platforms and opinions with students.

Both candidates met the required 100 signature threshold to appear on the ballot, with Jones doing so in the late afternoon Feb. 20, which was the last possible day to collect the required signatures. 

Voting will run until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 28 and will use a single-choice preferential voting system rather than a ranked-choice system.

“Justice, community and transparency” — Valentina Mendoza Gonzalez

Mendoza Gonzalez, the current Student Council director for coalition engagement, is the more conventional choice in the election, as current Student Council leadership members have already expressed support for her campaign on social media. Mendoza Gonzalez runs on a ticket with two fellow Student Council leaders who both run unopposed for their positions — third-year College student Brookelyn Mitchell for Vice President for Administration and third-year Commerce student Ryan Bowers for Vice President for Organizations. The group calls itself “The Voice Movement.” 

Mendoza Gonzalez said that as president, she would work to better welcome first-year students, especially those from minority or underrepresented backgrounds. Mendoza Gonzalez said that in her time at the University, she has helped ease the transition of incoming first-year students through her work in peer mentorship programs such as the Latinx Leadership Institute. 

“I’ve dedicated myself to those incoming first years, showing them ‘this is what U.Va. looks like, [this] is the bad, this is the good,” Gonzalez said. “That organic mentorship has not only taught me so much, but I think empowers the future student leaders.”

She added that as president, she would aim to expand visitation programs for minority or underrepresented high school seniors so that they could get a better idea of the diversity of the student body. Additionally, she proposed having an institutional review of the Support and Access Services branch to increase cultural competency and ensure that products and services made available to students reflect the diversity of their needs.

Mendoza Gonzalez said that the biggest challenge facing the student body is a lack of collaboration and coalition building that has existed since the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that she is concerned about the relationship between the University and the Charlottesville community, and hopes to make a community outreach team to foster a better relationship between the Student Council and local citizens.

“I am a potential candidate for Student Council President, but I am still a community member,” Mendoza Gonzalez said. “People seeing that I am an active member and still invested in student leadership and student life is how I’m going to hold myself accountable to making sure that I’m serving all students and being present and active as [an] individual.”

“Opportunities for relaxation” — Tyler Jones

While Mendoza Gonzalez laid out more specific goals and intentions, Jones said more generally that he wants to be Student Council President to serve as a “voice for the people.”

“I think I’m pretty in tune with what the people [at the University] want,” Jones said. “I think I can be the mouthpiece for the people to speak through.”

Jones said that he thinks the biggest challenge facing the student body is a lack of enjoyment and too much anxiety among students and said that he aims to provide them with more “opportunities for relaxation.” 

“I think the biggest challenge is that people aren’t having as fun a time in college as I think they should,” Jones said. “[I would] hopefully put a smile on their face[s].”

Jones outlined no other specific campaign initiatives during his interview with The Cavalier Daily.

While Jones was not in attendance, The Cavalier Daily and the University Board of Elections hosted a forum Feb. 25 for both candidates to answer questions and share their platforms ahead of election ballots being delivered to students' email inboxes Feb. 26. Voting will close Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 11:59 p.m.

A more detailed timeline with dates and additional election information is available on the University Board of Elections website.


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