TSU makes history with first-ever virtual Student Government Association campaign, elections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a historic move, Tennessee State University recently held its first-ever virtual Student Government Association campaign and elections for 2020/2021. Usually conducted in the spring after weeks of in-person campaigning on campus, the elections this year were held last week solely online as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Undergraduate and graduate students showed up in record numbers to vote for their favorite candidates.

New SGA leaders: From left, Dominique Davis, Executive President; Naton Smith, Jr., Mr. TSU; Mariah Rhodes, Miss TSU; and Toree Sims, Executive Vice President

The new student leadership, including a Mister TSU and a Miss TSU, was announced by the Student Election Commission on Saturday, August 29.

TSU President Glenda Glover, along with staff from the Office of Student Affairs, faculty, alumni, family members and guests, was on hand to congratulate the new officers when the election results were announced.

Danville, Illinois, native Dominique Davis, a senior business administration major with a supply chain concentration, was elected the new SGA executive president, while Toree Sims, a computer science major from Louisville, Kentucky, was elected executive vice president.

Dr. Tobias R. Morgan, Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and Leadership, left; and Akiliyiah Sumlin, Chair of the Student Election Commission, announce the winners of the elections.

Winning the coveted Miss TSU crown was Mariah Rhodes, a senior political science major from Memphis, Tennessee. Naton Smith, Jr., a health sciences major from St. Louis, will escort Rhodes as the new Mister TSU.

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said although the elections were delayed due to COVID-19, the students’ enthusiasm was “very high and the virtual presentation added a very positive dimension” to the whole process.

“Not only were they creative and very much on point, but the level of interest and enthusiasm of the students shown by the number of voters was pretty exciting,” Stevenson said.  “We have a great group of student leaders that is ready to work hard, and we are very proud of the political process and how our students presented themselves.”

Davis, who becomes the 80th administration executive president of the SGA, said she is excited about the core of leaders in the new administration.

“In this challenging time that we are in, we know that we have a lot to deliver to our student body,” said Davis. “I am just really excited. We have a lot of great student leaders who are very eager to serve the needs of our student body and I know we will be able to get a lot done.”

The theme of the new student government is “Trailblazing,” Davis said.

For Rhodes, the new Miss TSU, she assured fellow students that although the university is cutting down on activities because of the pandemic, she plans to implement a number of events virtually to keep students engaged.

“I am going to be the best representation for TSU,” said Rhodes. “This year is going to look different, but we are going to make sure students are part of everything. We will be more transparent with students, making sure they are included in all decisions we make.”

Dr. Tobias R. Morgan, assistant dean of Student Engagement and Leadership, congratulated the new student leaders and thanked the Student Election Commission under the chairmanship of Akiliyiah Sumlin, for the very efficient manner in which the process was conducted. Sumli is a senior agricultural sciences major from Langston, Oklahoma.

“Sumlin rose to the occasion and was able to adapt to an ever-changing environment as we reworked our plans numerous times to ensure the integrity of the election process,” said Morgan.  “We wish each of you leaders much success as you lay the groundwork for a new normal among student leadership and governance at Tennessee State University.”

Following is the list of the new Miss TSU court and other members of the SGA: 

Mr. Senior – Michael Caldwell from Atlanta – Mechanical Engineering major

Junior Class President – Imani Marshall of Tampa, Florida – Mathematics major

Miss Junior – Mallory Moore of Birmingham, Alabama – Health Sciences major

Mister Sophomore – Widmark J. Cadet, Jr. of Chester, Virginia – Business Administration/Marketing major

Miss Freshman – Taryn Henry of Tallahassee, Florida – Cardiopulmonary Science/Respiratory Therapy major

SUBG Chair – Sydnei Everett from Nashville – Public Health Major

Representatives At Large

1. Nzinga Ajamu from Memphis, Tennessee – Business administration/Supply Chain major

2. Kailyn Allen from Memphis, Tennessee Mass Communication major

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
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Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.