Current USG President Andrew Jackson stands on The Oval in 2016 campaigning for former USG heads Danielle Di Scala and Gerard Basalla. Credit: Courtesy of Danielle Di Scala

Candidates hoping to run for Undergraduate Student Government positions such as president, vice president and General Assembly began petitioning Monday for the 2018-19 term year.

President and vice president candidates are required to get 500 signatures from enrolled Ohio State undergraduate students. General Assembly candidates must collect 50, according to USG’s election bylaws.

The only slate that was submitted to the judicial panel is that of Shamina Merchant and Shawn Semmler,” said Connor Greenwood, USG judicial panel chief justice and a fourth-year in history. “However, if a candidate is not running with a slate they don’t have to file with the judicial panel until the petition submission deadline.”

Merchant, a third-year in information systems, currently serves as USG’s deputy chief of staff, and Semmler, a third-year in finance, is the deputy director of governmental relations. Merchant is listed at the top of the ticket, while Semmler is running for vice president.

Other prospective candidates have until Feb. 2 to submit their petition to a USG staff member for approval.

“We have no clue who is campaigning this year,” Vice President Sophie Chang said, speaking for herself and USG President Andrew Jackson. “But we are excited to watch it unfold.”

Any undergraduate student seeking a degree can petition to be on the ballot.

“To be a candidate for Undergraduate Student Government elections, one must be a registered degree-seeking undergraduate student at The Ohio State University,” the election bylaws states, “and may not be on any form of probation or warning issued by the university from the time nominating petitions are approved and through the first day of the elected term.”

Once candidates are approved, they can begin campaigning Feb. 25 for the March 5 election.

Any student can petition to have an initiative or referendum put on the ballot as long as they collect 1,000 signatures.

The 2017 election ballot included a referendum for USG to ask the Ohio State Administration to divest from corporations that the OSU Divest group argued were involved with Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories, which was highly controversial throughout the USG election season.

Chang said a resolution for divestment will be discussed Wednesday. 


Clarification, 1/23 at 2:22 p.m.: a previous version of this article included a detail provided to The Lantern that was not entirely accurate.