Tag Archives: 2014

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SGA elections to be uncontested

By Simon Isham–

For the first time in the U of L Student Government Association’s history, the winners have been decided before the voting has even started.

Only one candidate campaigned for each of the 14 available offices during this general election cycle, meaning that every candidate essentially wins by default. SGA Chief Justice Brandon McReynolds, who has run the elections for the past three years, said that voting will still be held Feb. 10 through 12, as originally scheduled, and that he will continue to push all candidates to campaign as normal, despite knowing that they have already won.

The SGA President oversees a $1 million budget which is taken out of student tuition, sits on the university’s Board of Trustees and represents the interests of the students body to all university administrators. The college-specific representatives appropriate the $1 million.

Applications were due at noon on Jan. 24. Last year, three slates ran for the “top four” positions of president, executive VP, academic VP and services VP — an all-time high for candidate registration. In contrast, this year, only one slate ran.

When asked how he thought potential candidates could be encouraged to register, McReynolds said, “I think students need to be more informed about the actual processes of what goes on in SGA, and (SGA) need to help develop leadership skills in the youngest Cardinals. If we had more people with leadership experience, then we would have a larger pool.

“Task Force Freshmen and Freshmen Lead are great programs that get around 65 to 70 freshman students per year. But then, sometimes it’s the handoff: how do you get involved beyond that, how do we create leaders at the sophomore level and above? … It’s great to be involved at a club-level, but there are opportunities within student government to be involved at a higher level.”

Voter turnout has also been a reported problem, with roughly 10 percent of the university submitting ballots last year.

McReynolds said he thinks the problems might be linked. “It’s a general lack of knowledge about student government,” he said. “We need to enhance that, with all student groups talking with their members about what SGA does.”

Write-in votes will not be an option in this election, and that the ULink infrastructure that serves as the voting system may not allow write-in entries. McReynolds said that the idea had been mentioned in the past, but that the SGA adviser, Dean of Students Michael Mardis, had never foreseen a circumstance like this one.

For the past two years, SGA election results have been stalled in court, as students from other slates presented violations of campaign rules by other slates. While McReynolds does not believe that this will happen again this year, he said that anyone who sees what might be considered a breach of policy is free to contact him personally at bsmcre01@louisville.edu.

Students may also contact Compliance Officer Marianna Michael at marianna.michael@uoflsga.org. The compliance officer position was created last year because of the number of cases that appeared before the court. The typical penalty for slates or candidates found in violation of campaign rules is a deduction of votes from that party’s total. The official election rulebook can be found at Uoflsga.org/about/elections/.

The College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business will be holding their own Student Council elections at a later date than the general SGA elections. These elections are still open for candidate registration. The College of Business has five seats available, and Arts and Sciences has 10.

McReynolds said the decision to have independent elections was made for students who wanted to make their voices heard, but felt that it was too difficult to get on a standard SGA slate without being greek, “rather than having to get on this larger political machine that the slates have become.”

He also said he hopes that students will take a lesson from the current uncontested election, and consider running for Arts and Sciences or Business School student council.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that the SGA budget was $600,000.

Photo courtesy / CardsFirst

Photo by Austin Lassell

Louisville baseball revamps for 2014 season

By Lilly Trunnell

 

The University of Louisville is abuzz with stories of the championship football and

basketball teams. But there is another sports team on campus that does not get nearly the

same recognition for its successes. Louisville Cardinals baseball is consistently ranked

one of the best programs in the country. This past year the team was top of the Big East

Conference with a 20-4 conference record and 51-14 overall record, which led them to their

second College World Series appearance, the previous in 2007.

The 51 wins on the season was enough to not only set a school record, but also give the

team an eighth place national ranking and send them to Omaha for the College World

Series. However, in both the World Series and the Big East Championship Tournament, in

which Louisville was the number one seed, the team somehow fell flat.

In the Big East Tournament they were immediately eliminated by the eighth-seed

University of Connecticut Huskies. Connecticut went on to win the tournament. Likewise,

they were outplayed immediately in World Series double-elimination action, beat first by

Indiana University and then Oregon State.

Despite the inability to clinch a championship, the team’s play during regular season

is nothing short of amazing. The 78 percent winning percentage can be at least partially

attributed to the Cardinals’ offensive capabilities. They outscored opponents in every

inning, and in total outscored them by 404-212 runs. Aiding the offense and providing

perhaps even more support was the pitching staff. In all, the Cardinals’ 2013 staff pitched for

a 2.52 ERA and was ranked fifth in the NCAA.

The Cardinals will be looking for a new ace this year. Jeff Thompson, Big East Pitcher

of the Year, has left to join the Detroit Tiger’s organization. Thompson was drafted in

the third round as the 94th overall pick. Three other contributing pitchers will be joining

him in professional baseball. RHP Chad Green will be joining Thompson in the Tiger’s

organization. RHP Dace Kime, selected by the Cleveland Indians in the third round and

LHP Cody Ege, selected by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round, are also moving their

careers to professional status.

Three fielding players were selected from the University of Louisville in the MLB

Draft. Third baseman Ty Young was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh round,

outfielder Coco Johnson signed with the Miami Marlins after being selected in the 11th

round and outfielder Adam Engel was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 19th round.

Head Coach Dan McDonnell may have some difficulty replacing such valuable assets. He

has assistance in the upcoming task from the 2013 American Baseball Coaches Association/

Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year co-awardees Chris Lemonis and Roger

Williams as well as senior team captains Jeff Gardner and Cole Sturgeon.

With a still-strong core of young fielders, hitters and pitchers along with the capable

leadership skills of both coaches and captains, the upcoming 2014 season at Jim Patterson

Stadium is sure to be just as entrancing as the last.

Greg Leichty

U of L professor announces bid for U.S. Senate

By Simon Isham—

Greg Leichty, a U of L professor in the Communications department, announced on Sunday that he would be making a bid for U.S. Senate.

Leichty made the announcement that he would be a candidate in the 2014 Democratic primary via Facebook, Twitter and his My Opera blog “Facts Matter.”

“I am running mostly because the voices of some ordinary citizens need to be heard,” Leichty said in an email to the Cardinal. “I am at a stage in life where career and family obligations are lessened so I have more degrees of freedom than many who might consider running for a political office.

“In one sense, I am running as a form of political protest. Everyone is telling us that the barriers to participating in the political process are so great that it’s a lost cause. I understand the people who feel alienated from and fatalistic about our political system, because I have had those thoughts too. I don’t think that needed change is impossible, but I protest the system of gridlock that has been imposed on our political system. At a minimum we need to protest and maybe even have some fun in the process,” he said.

Leichty has taught research methods, interpersonal communication and argumentation at U of L since 1991. Though he did not attend U of L himself, he has two daughters, both of whom  have attended the university for multiple degrees.

In his initial campaign agenda, Leichty spoke out against topics such as “foreign wars and interventions,” high prices of prescription medication and “rent-seeking” in the patent process.

He also came out in favor of increased funding for scientific research, legislation that “treats all income as equal for tax purposes” and oversight of national security programs.

He said the statement is “only in a formative state at this point,” and that he is “doing some research along with other people to further develop policy positions.”

To read the full text of Leichty’s campaign agenda, click here.

Leichty said he is not concerned about competition from the other declared Democratic candidates, Ed Marksbury and Bennie J. Smith.

“My entrance into the race began with the belief that you have to be in the game to influence the game,” he said. “If I can influence the the ultimate policy decisions and platforms of other candidates in the race, that would count as a significant success in my mind.”

“I am realistic about the uncertainties that I face. I am a first-time candidate for political office … who lacks public recognition, deep political connections and a large personal fortune.”

Leichty specifically referenced his running against incumbent minority leader Mitch McConnell, who will be running for his sixth Senate term in 2014.

“Anyone who is grounded in reality recognizes that challenging Mitch McConnell is a daunting task,” he said. “McConnell is a very smart man and a very clever politician.”

The tweet in which Greg Leichty announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate.

The tweet in which Greg Leichty announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate.

Dr. Dewey Clayton, also a U of L professor and author of “The Presidential Campaign of Barack Obama: A Critical Analysis of a Racially Transcendent Strategy,” agreed that Leichty probably does not have a realistic shot at unseating McConnell, the longest-serving Senator in Kentucky history.

“First, (Leichty) will not be an incumbent and have all the advantages of incumbency …(McConnell) has a track record to run on and he has brought millions of federal dollars to Kentucky since he took office in 1985,” said Clayton. “Rand Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave that came to Congress. He has taken a stand on many important public policy issues and he has attempted to expand the outreach of his party to minorities. He has his sights on the presidential race in 2016.”

Clayton highlighted the disparity between the financial capabilities of both Leichty and McConnell. McConnell will come into the election with $11 million in campaign funding, along with early strike ads against potential opponents paid for by the Team Mitch campaign and independent PACs.

Clayton also identified some general roadblocks for any Kentucky Democrat in the 2014 race. He noted that the political climate in Kentucky outside of the major cities of Louisville and Lexington is strongly in support of Republicans in national politics, and reminded that the Democrats have yet to declare an official candidate, with the Nov. 4, 2014 election date swiftly approaching.

“Having said that, I do think that McConnell is more vulnerable in 2014 than he has been in some time,” said Clayton. “His approval ratings are somewhat low according to the last Bluegrass Poll … some Kentuckians see him as the chief obstructionist to President Obama’s agenda — and a part of the problem in Washington and not the solution. Moreover, Senator McConnell has been in office for almost three decades and some may feel it is time for a fresh face.”

Clayton had the following warning for the Democratic nominee, whether Leichty or someone else:

“Team Mitch will run a barrage of advertisements against the challenger, probably painting him or her as out-of-touch with the true values of Kentuckians. Unless the challenger has a huge campaign war chest to refute these allegations, they will do irreparable damage.”

Photo courtesy / Greg Leichty