Ohio State has had about 50 Undergraduate Student Government administrations in its history, but none have had a female president and vice president at once. Celia Wright and Leah Lacure are hoping to change that.
It’s also something that Wright, a third-year in public health, said scared her when she asked Lacure to be her runningmate.
“It actually brought me a little bit of worry,” Wright said. “USG has never had two females win an election together, and it was an intimidating prospect, but students are generally pretty supportive of it. The great thing is that if we won, it would be a historical election. That’s not the reason why we’re running, and it’s not the reason people should vote for us, but it is a cool fact about this election.”
Their partnership was a natural fit, Wright said. Wright and Lacure were both interns in USG as freshmen, and have moved up together, including working on the student affairs committee at the same time. They now both sit on senior staff. Wright is the senior internal affairs director and Lacure, a third-year in public affairs, is the deputy chief of staff for USG President Taylor Stepp and Vice President Josh Ahart.
“When I was a freshman, I was intimidated by the leadership of the organization, and I could never see myself being qualified enough to run. But when I did some self-reflection this year, I realized that I really did believe myself to be qualified and more so than any other candidate that is participating,” Wright said.
Geoff Nugent, a third-year in strategic communication and Spanish who is running to be a social and behavioral sciences senator, said the high level of involvement of people on the campaign’s slate is a big asset.
“What separates our slate from others is that we come up with ideas. All of our senators have things they want to do. They’re not running just to run,” he said.
Wright’s platform also includes plans to further expand the joint jurisdiction agreement between OSU and Columbus police. That agreement was passed during current USG President Taylor Stepp’s first term and gave University Police the authority to intervene in off-crimes crimes they witness while on-campus or traveling to and from campus.
“I think it will be effective in this way, but I think everyone knows that chances of someone committing crimes while crossing the street is really low,” Wright said. “We currently have joint jurisdiction on paper, but the essence of that law doesn’t really exist in communication between the departments.”
Wright said she’s been disappointed by USG’s inefficiencies before.
“We really haven’t had a lot of direction for senators to follow in the General Assembly,” Wright said. “We’ve been canceling a lot of meetings and we really haven’t created a forum for students to pitch in with their ideas on policy. It’s also not particularly diverse, in my opinion, and we find that typically students from the same circles get involved in USG. We have a lot of public affairs and political science majors.”
Wright said diversity was also an important factor when recruiting senators for their slate.
“Not all of them have been involved in USG in years past, but we really see that as an asset as long as they’ve proven their leadership ability,” Wright said.
There are six campaign teams running: Ahart and Jen Tripi; Vytas Aukstuolis and Nick Macek; Ryan Hedrick and Nicole Spaetzel; Mohamad Mohamad and Sean Crowe; Andrew Warnecke and Logan Recker; and Wright and Lacure.
The Ahart-Tripi campaign was recently accused of falsifying campaign expense reports by three of the opposing campaigns. The website “voteceliaandleah.com,” which includes Wright and Lacure’s names, was registered in the name of the Ahart-Tripi campaign manager, though the campaign had not reported the expense. The USG judicial panel, though, reached a unanimous decision that the team had not committed a violation. The opposing campaigns who had brought the complaint forward – Wright and Lacure; Aukstuolis and Macek; and Mohamad and Crowe – said they were not planning to appeal.
Voting is open online Monday through Wednesday.
Editor’s note: The campaigns were listed in alphabetical order by presidential candidates’ last names.