Abby Trautman and Dylan Babcock win WSGA presidential election

Presidential Winners: Abby Trautman (left) and Dylan Babcock (right) pose for a photo on their victory day. They will be the new president and vice president for the student body.

Abby Trautman and Dylan Babcock claimed victory in the WSGA presidential elections today, and are set to formally take up their new responsibilities on April 14.

“We are so excited and grateful to be elected as your new 2021 and 2022 student body president and vice president,” said Trautman.

Trautman will become the new president, succeeding Victoria Smith, while Babcock will continue his role as vice-president in WSGA.

Around three dozen students came to the Union Underground to witness the occasion, many of them being WSGA senators, while a few staff members and faculty made a brief appearance. Free food, t-shirts and other WSGA-labeled items were laid out on tables for students to take.

The proceedings got underway at 1:00 p.m. with Isaiah Collier, the adviser for WSGA and Director of Student Involvement and Development, stepping up to the stage to congratulate the winners.

“I think students should be really excited,” said Collier. “There’s a new administration coming in, and I think they all do a phenomenal job, and I think they’ll really listen to their peers.”

Collier was joined on stage by returning and new senators who were elected on the WSGA ballot this year as well. These included: Tomi Francis-Ramirez, Daniel Buller, Ariel Smith, Quinn Leffingwell, Shayden Hanes, Ammeriahya Gonzalez, Megan Dorantes, Cody Dannar, Claudia Fury, Eric Rorstrom, Wyatt Carter, Danial Lopez Hernandez, Elizabeth Ngatia, Diana Ramirez, Jayce Wessel, Tevin Asamoah, Ethan Nelson, Katherine Cook, Hannah Atakpa and Trey LaRue.

Trautman and Babcock were then handed the mic by Collier to share their thoughts and feelings with the students.

“Since the beginning at Washburn, it has been my dream to serve as the student body president and make a difference through my involvement with WSGA and other student organizations on campus,” said Trautman. “WSGA has given me the chance to express myself and truly learn what kind of leader I want to be.”

“As for myself, I’m really thankful to be given the opportunity to continue serving you all as student body vice president,” said Babcock. “I can’t wait to get to work for all of you.”

Smith shared a few of her thoughts as well on the incoming administration.

“It’s kind of nice knowing that my time is winding down,” said Smith. “It’s been a long year, with the pandemic and everything. In like less than an hour, I’ll be the official 109 lame duck. So I’m looking forward to seeing where the new administration takes us.”

She went on to state that students should never hesitate to contact WSGA when they have a concern or problem that they think should be addressed on campus by reaching out to the organization as their purpose is to serve the student body.

Both Trautman and Babcock took a moment to discuss their thoughts after the election and what their first order of business would be once they fill in their new roles.

“Our first goal is to get the senate in order,” said Trautman. “For the next couple weeks, we’ll be choosing who our cabinet is, who our chair people are. So really just working to make sure everybody is trained and on the same page, so that we can come back in next year, just feeling ready and ready to go to start doing a lot of stuff on campus.”

“We really tried to make it well known that our campaign was about the students and that we are here for you,” said Babcock. “We want to know what you want to see. So like having said, we really want to make WSGA more well known and appear more open to students.”

Trautman said that she and Babcock hope to meet with President Farley soon to talk about pressing campus issues and things that WSGA can improve on. Both Babcock and Trautman agreed that mental health and diversity and inclusion would be major concerns for their administration as well as creating better relationships between WSGA and other student organizations.

“I would say our vision is honestly just more connectedness,” said Trautman. “We’re really working to connect ourselves with student organizations, student employment opportunities, athletics on campus and really just get the feeling from everybody and also connect this to the Topeka community.”

While this election was an exciting one for Trautman, Babcock and their supporters, it was a somewhat disappointing one for Harrison Dollar and his supporters.

Earlier this week, Dollar and his running mate, Sierra Jeter, had their campaign unexpectedly cancelled, first by Washburn administrators then by the WSGA election board.

“I would say that this week has been a week of disappointment, but also of hope,” said Dollar. “What happened was something very unfortunate. But at the same standpoint, I admire all the support and involvement that the students have shown for our campaign.”

The sudden cancellation of the Dollar/Jeter campaign left Trautman and Babcock with no opposition. The circumstances surrounding the violation that caused the Dollar/Jeter campaign to be cancelled remains unknown as it is a private matter between Dollar and the university.

“What happened was unfortunate,” said Dollar. “What happened was corruption. Don’t stop fighting. We are going to contest this in every single way possible.”

Dollar contests the removal of his campaign from the ballot and has vowed to continue to fight against what he has remarked as “corruption” within WSGA and the administration; he believes this was partially responsible for his campaign being cancelled.

“I would say that the school administration has every reason to not want us, privately, on the ballot,” said Dollar. “We called for partial tuition. We called for more mental health days. They are very resistant to both of those ideas. I’m not saying that they’re biased. I’m saying that this is what’s interesting about this event. If both parties were biased, I could see how this event would happen exactly the way it did.”

Dollar has since resigned from WSGA but has said that he will continue to look for ways to help students and create change on campus.

“Honestly, it’s definitely unfortunate,” said Trautman. “Just really, hopefully, in the future we [Trautman and Babcock] can work with those people that are part of that campaign, and make sure that we can, you know, still keep a good connection, because we’re still WSGA.”

Trautman and Babcock will assume their new official roles as president and vice president of the student body on April 14 during a banquet ceremony.

“Don’t be afraid to come talk to us,” said Trautman. “We just really want people to know that we’re here for them. Our main purpose is students serving students.”

Edited by: Savannah Workman, Shelby Spradling