Student launches SU presidency campaign from abroad
In an unprecedented move, a student is not only running a write-in campaign for Student Union president, but he is doing it from more than 5,000 miles away.
Junior Sean Dula, an architecture student currently studying in Florence, announced his campaign on Facebook early Tuesday morning. The Justice slate, of which he is the only member, had 412 people in its Facebook group as of 2:00 Tuesday afternoon.
While Chief Justice, junior Joe Craig said Dula would probably be ineligible because he would not be present for his entire term, which starts later this month, Dula said he believes he has a chance of winning and that he would be able to manage the position’s responsibilities from the Italian city. He plans to file a grievance request to have Student Union reconsider its traditional policy of excluding students studying abroad from joining SU Exec for the following year.
“What I’m really focused on right now is…the election and empowering the student body to make the decision themselves,” Dula said. “One of the main problems I want to tackle [is] a lack of involvement among students.”
Dula previously served as a SU senator and as Architecture School Council president.
As of 2:00 Tuesday, Dula had not released a formal platform. He said he is currently trying to speak with student leaders to talk about his ideas and seek input rather than come up with an elaborate list of solutions.
He said one of his major goals is to make SU more relevant to current issues that matter to students—such as the new Dear Chancellor Wrighton video campaign—and less self-invested.
“Seeing SU from the inside as a senator my freshman year was almost completely disheartening, because there are just a lot of roadblocks,” Dula said.
He said he does not think that working with members of the Progress Slate should he be elected would impede him from carrying out his ideas.
“I’m at a disadvantage at the campaign, running alone, running as a write in, but I know that I’ve worked with so many different people on campus and so many different groups…I think the group that’s running right now…the individuals running on Exec, I would be happy to work alongside of them,” Dula said.
“I think a lot of people recognize that this is a very important time and a very important position to represent our students,” Dula said. “And I would be very happy dedicating my senior year to this.”
Junior Matt Re, who is running for Student Union President with the Progress Slate, said that the write-in campaign shouldn’t affect his campaign efforts over the next day, until elections close at 5:00 Wednesday.
“Sean’s campaign is unique because personally I feel like running for president does take time and planning, or at least attempts to plan, and I guess this decision feels more rushed and as a reaction to Monday’s [Student Life] staff editorial,” Re said.
He added that at least according to his interpretation of the Constitution, students studying abroad are not able to win positions in SU Exec.
“I’m happy to have competition,” Re said. “It’d be nice if more people would like to get involved in SU who were eligible.”
Student Union elections are hosted on su.wustl.edu/vote and run through 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Sean Dula’s campaign group can be found HERE
The Progress Slate’s event page may be found HERE