The Ashleys take the election

Ashley Sukhu and Colton Ashley will serve as student body president and vice president 2016-17


Photo by Kendall Ruchti

Coordinator of Outreach and Inclusivity Ashley Sukhu and Director of Campus Affairs Colton Ashley will serve as student body president and vice president 2016-17.

Through the fish tank on the second floor of Davies.

That’s how Ashely Sukhu found out she and Colton Ashley had won the Student Senate presidential election.

The evening the polls closed, Sukhu said she was on her way to the Student Organization office after attending a PRIDE meeting. Nervous to hear the results, she stopped to peer through the fish tank and into the office. She gestured to senators on the other side until a thumbs-up was returned, Sukhu said.

Meanwhile, Colton Ashley was in Putnam Park reflecting on the campaign with now Senator Lars Nelson when he got the news from another newly elected senator, Abigail Nesbitt, as she emerged through the woods, he said.

“And then before Lars had a chance to shake my hand, I was taking off running,” Ashley said.

Although they don’t officially take office until May 9, their work has begun, Sukhu said, as they prepare to hire commission director positions. Each commission works with a faculty or staff adviser and Sukhu said they’re trying to involve them in the selection.

“Ultimately it’s up to us what we decide,” Sukhu said. “But we also recognize in order to actually make this an encompassing process we need to include the individuals who maybe work more closely than we even do.”

Over the summer, Sukhu said she’s hoping to prepare bylaw changes to be voted on in the fall, while Ashley said it’s going to be crucial for them to reach out to new students during orientation, staying true to their campaign message.

“We’re going to make sure that the communication link between our student government and the student body remains open, remains accountable and is always there for support,” he said.

Through their campaign experience, Sukhu said it was apparent they have work to do in making the campus aware of Student Senate, and they’re committed to extending outreach to everyone on campus, especially those neglected in representation.

“I’m ready,” Sukhu said. “I was ready for the work to begin before the elections.”


On the other side of the results

With over 2,600 student votes cast in the election, Jordan Mabin and Katy McGarry lost by 490 votes, according to online results.

Mabin, who currently serves as student body vice president, said after three years in shared governance he will be leaving Senate with ambitions of applying for the UW-Board of Regents student position.

Sophomore McGarry, currently the director of Intergovernmental Affairs, said she will apply for the director position but is still evaluating her options for next year since she is currently not a senator in the 60th Session.

She wants to see The Ashleys take a different approach as president and vice president, McGarry said

“I have appreciation for the way they look at the university that’s different from the way I look at the university …” she said. “Something good is going to come out of it, I know.”

Mabin wants to see The Ashleys succeed without losing their passion under the pressures of the job, because they have the potential, he said.

“A lot of people I think have this idea that we hate them,” Mabin said. “Quite frankly, I want them to succeed. The definition of a true leader is setting the people up after you to be better than you.”

With the state budget beginning the formulation process in September, current Student Body President Jake Wrasse said Sukhu and Ashley have a difficult year to prepare for. They have proved they can build relationships within campus, he said, but the job also demands high participation at the state and community level.

“I think they’re capable and ready to step in and do it,” he said. “But it’s going to be a tough year so I wish them I guess luck in being able to keep those plates spinning.”