Students Re-Elect George, Approve Smoking Ban

On Tuesday the student body at The University of Southern Mississippi elected its new Student Government Association officers for the 2015-2016 academic year.

SGA announced the winners in the Office of Student Activities for president, attorney general and treasurer along with yes or no votes to constitutional changes and a campus smoking ban on Tuesday evening with a total number of 1,604 students who voted.

Jeffrey George, a junior political science major and current SGA president, was re-elected as president with a 68.36 percent vote and 1,065 votes compared to his opponent Matt Balcer with a 31.64 percent vote and 493 votes.

Autumn Sobel, a sophomore history major and vice-chairman of the Judicial Board, was elected attorney general with a 56.25 percent vote and 832 votes.

When Meredith (Barefield) announced my name, I was overwhelmed with joy and relief,” Sobel said. “I realized at that moment that I have huge shoes to fill as I see Wilton Jackson as a great leader at Southern Miss. I am fortunate to follow in his footsteps as the new attorney general.

Students who also ran for attorney general were freshman broadcast journalism major Quinton Cross with a 16.50 percent vote and 244 total votes and junior history and English double major J.D. Rimann with a 27.25 percent vote and 403 votes.

Junior finance major and pre-medical student Blake Dunaway won SGA treasurer with 978 votes and a 68.39 vote percentage. His opponent Bradley Floore, a junior finance and accounting double major, received 452 votes and 31.61 percent of the votes.

These are all fantastic candidates and all would have been ideal for these jobs,” current election commissioner Meredith Barefield said.

Unopposed officers automatically elected for their positions were Vice President Kyle Stoner and Election Commissioner Phoenix Pope. Changes to the SGA Constitution passed by 1,103 votes and 96.33 percent answer yes and only 42 votes with 3.67 percent answer no.

The smoking ban, advocated by members of SGA, received a “yes” vote of 76.68 percent and 1,128 votes. Those who disagreed with the ban on campus smoking totaled 343 out of the 1,471 votes, taking 23.32 percent of the total vote.

The inauguration ceremony will be held on Founder’s Day, March 30 at 3 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium.