By Ellis Smith at The West Georgian
Alan Webster won the 2009-2010 SGA Presidential Election by 300 votes, according to Linda Picklesimer, director of the Campus Center. Webster said, “It wasn’t a huge win. I wish we’d had a larger voter turnout, but a win is a win and change is on the way.”
Webster’s win signals a change in UWG’s student leadership, but it remains to be seen how different his policies will be from his predecessor.
Students have expressed hope that Webster will set and achieve concrete goals during his term in office and that his tenure will be marked by transparency and accountability.
Before running for SGA President, Webster served as an SGA senator for two years, during which time he was chairman for athletic affairs. He is also a member of the UWG Honors College and is a fourth-year biology major.
Webster is an active member of the Chi Phi Fraternity and works with his sister’s foundation, “Lana’s Love,” which helps children cope with cancer.
He will officially take over in April. Webster’s closest opponent was Carlos Riley, who was supported by the Black Student Alliance, according to BSA Chairman Marcus Lamar.
The BSA had previously supported Rob Kelly, who will step down this year. Some students see Webster’s victory as a defeat for Kelly’s spiritual successor and a repudiation of former advisor Said Sewell’s race-centric policies.
The SGA under Kelly received praise for its focus on diversity and unity, but was marred by accusations of corruption, organizational incest and racializing the student body.
Kelly’s administration counts among its accomplishments the approval of student funding for the stadium, the extension of library hours, an expansion of student meal choices in collaboration with ARAMARK, a renewed focus on going green and community service, and the creation of the House of Representatives.
Webster is faced with the daunting task of uniting a divided student body and will be forced to deal with the snowballing NCAA scandal. He plans to make the campus safer, focus on improving UWG’s athletic program, save the “fixed-forfour” tuition program in the face of statewide budget cuts, and attempt to refocus the University on its core group of stakeholders – students.
All other candidates were either unopposed or “at large” Senators who do not run against each other.