Hunter administration: three ethics violations, two policy accomplishments, one resignationBy Jennifer Johns | 01/24/2018 9:54pm
Former SGA President Jared Hunter was one of the many Machine-backed candidates to win the presidency, and despite a tumultuous election and abrupt ending, his time in office seemed to follow the norm.
Hunter won the presidency after an election with three ethics violations and enough conflict to cause the entire Elections Board to resign.
Hunter's campaign platform promoted transparency, so he wrote a column for The Crimson White about being backed by the Machine.
The article met mixed feedback in the public and from the SGA.
“You're now their pawn, and no matter how genuine you may seem or even be, it will be difficult to believe in a vote for the pawn of the Machine,” Jimmy Johnson commented on Hunter's column. “No matter what, they back you and you represent their ideals.”
Caitlin Cobb, former chief of staff and recent UA graduate, wrote an opinion article for the CW in support of Hunter and his outspoken support from the Machine in response to a movement from Senator Michael Smith.
“[A] disqualification would be an insult to the over-54 percent of students who voted for Jared, as well as a continuation of the bias against our candidate and team during the election season,” Cobb said.
Despite his Machine backing, Hunter ran with the promise he would represent all students regardless of their affiliations.
“I wrote that article not asking for any sort of sympathy or for students to say I’m being brave,” Hunter stated in a separate interview with The Crimson White. “I wrote the article to be transparent and upfront, so that when I’m asked if I’m backed by the Machine I can give students an honest answer and won’t be lying to their face.”
His platform also promised accomplishments like improved sexual assault prevention, a University Assault Services Knowledge app that would involve sending a message to friends or police if someone feels unsafe, free refills for souvenir cups in Bryant-Denny Stadium, cutting down paperwork needed to become an organization with the SOURCE and expanding restaurants that will accept dining dollars.
None of these promises came to fruition during Hunter’s time in office. Hunter did not author or co-sponsor any legislation except for an executive order and a resolution to connect with students through an SGA newsletter. The executive order reinstated a Senate bill that codified the block seating process that the previous SGA President Lillian Roth had revoked. Five changes were made to the bill including the prohibition of allowing the Machine to assist in the Student Organization Seating process. Hunter made a statement at the time the executive order was passed saying Roth’s action was nothing but a “political move”.
Senator Michael Smith, a junior majoring in economics and finance, said Hunter’s work in the office focused on a singular initiative.
“Aside from being the representative of the SGA, I cannot recall any major actions Jared was in the process of taking other than creating the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. fund, a large mental health fund,” Smith said.
However, Smith also said the president isn’t usually legislatively active.
“Aside from major constitutional or code of law changes, that is actually fairly typical,” Smith said.
However after those typical 10 months, the Hunter administration met an atypical end when Hunter resigned after receiving a DUI.
Both Jacob Nutter, a senior majoring in exercise science, and Carmen Vivar, a senior majoring in marketing, said they expected Hunter’s resignation.
“When someone who is a diplomat does something like that, it's not surprising,” Vivar said.
In his resignation, Hunter said what he is going to focus on in the near future.
“I am seeking the guidance of my family, friends, and the UA administration to do everything I can to better myself and attend to the consequences of my actions,” Hunter said.