The Wojciechowski Ticket: ASUU’s First All Female Presidency 


Photo Courtesy of Jess Wojciechowski.

By Porshai Nielson


The Wojciechowski ticket won the ASUU presidential election on Feb. 26, making them the first all-female ticket to win at the University of Utah.

President-elect Jess Wojciechowski, Tiffany Chan as vice president of university relations-elect and Maryan Shale as vice president of student relations-elect are looking forward to making the U more accessible to students.

The election results were announced via ASUU social media instead of the traditional on-campus announcement. The 2021 election cycle differed greatly from those in the past, as everything was virtual. Campaigning primarily took place through social media and Zoom calls, challenging the candidates more than ever before. 

Voting also took place virtually. This year ASUU saw a voter turnout of 2,837 votes in comparison to the previous year at 2,949. The Wojciechowski ticket received 44.27% of the vote, while the Paul ticket received 33.56% and the Sanchez ticket 19.35%. 

Wojciechowski said when they found out the news they were all in tears. The words they echoed were “grateful” and “honored” to have won. They all expressed feeling the most love, support and encouragement they had ever felt. Chan immediately met with her family to celebrate after the three weeks of stressful campaigning.

Chan and Shale were recognized for being first-generation college students by the U’s office of engagement. Gloria Aquino, the elected Senator for the College of Social and Behavioral Science, is also a first-generation college student.

 Wojciechowski said virtual campaigning, while tough, was incredibly rewarding.

“I can’t even tell you how many emails we’ve sent the past three weeks, the many hours we have spent on Zoom, the pages-long documents we’ve read and typed up, and the countless words exchanged with students,” Wojciechowski said in an email. “We are all exhausted and truly put forth our best effort. We deeply appreciate the time and opportunity they gave us to hear our platform, as we work to make their voices feel heard.”

The Wojciechowski ticket’s platform revolves around one word: access. Their ticket was threefold: safety, accessibility and accountability.

The presidency plans to immediately begin working on their initiatives to establish new positions regarding safety, accessibility and accountability on campus. They plan to collaborate with student-led organizations, such as UnsafeU, to ensure they are appropriately serving underrepresented students on campus. 

UnsafeU endorsed both the Wojciechowski and the Nestle tickets on Feb. 15. However, the Nestle ticket was eliminated during the primary election cycle.

UnsafeU based their endorsements on a detailed survey issued to each ticket regarding student safety and wellbeing. They then issued scores and approval percentages; the Nestle ticket received the highest score at 81% with the Wojciechowski ticket closely behind at 74%.

UnsafeU released a statement on their Instagram regarding their scoring of the tickets.

“The Wojciechowski Ticket particularly stood out when looking at the specificity of policy planning and feasibility of policy implementation. The area where this ticket particularly excelled included environmental justice, policing, mental health and accountability,” the statement read.

The statement said they found the Wojciechowski approach to working with UUPD only “if absolutely necessary” particularly compelling.

Wojciechowski said the issue they feel is most important to tackle first is the issue of accessibility, which has become amplified by the ongoing pandemic. 

“We plan to establish a position dedicated to access and ensure that all student organizations and campus entities are given guidelines on how to be accessible,” Wojciechowski said. “This includes purchasing automated closed captioning services and improving mental healthcare accessibility.

During the tickets’ town hall meeting, they were able to meet with several graduate students to establish action items that will affect them as well. Some items specific to graduate students include the support of creating a graduate student governing body and a graduate student bill of rights which would include labor rights for external work outside of departments, protections for hours and workload assignments, etc. 

They will also be working on advocating for the U’s Free Legal Clinics, Lauren’s Promise and for more funding to the School Life Fund, which supports student parents.

The ticket said they are aware of issues that students face, ranging from mental health to accessibility. 

The ticket’s initial statement when ASUU announced the candidates addressed their commitment to accessibility, affordability, safety and solidarity.

“We are three women from different backgrounds committed to serving the students of the University of Utah. We are committed to empowering students to ignite the change that we need here at the U,” their statement said.

Former ASUU student body presidents Anna Barnes and Connor Morgan endorsed the Wojciechowski ticket based on these values. They went on an IGTV video to endorse the ticket on Feb. 23.

“As former student body presidents, we learned to work with stakeholders throughout the university to try and deliver meaningful progress for students on all sorts of issues ranging from campus safety, to access, to mental health services and even parking,” Barnes said.

Many of the issues both Barnes and Morgan worked on during their presidencies, they believe, will continue to be priorities of the Wojciechowski ticket. 

“We know that Jess, Maryan and Tiffany have what it takes to lead your student government next year. Representing the student body as the University of Utah navigates the COVID-19 crisis is no small task,” Morgan said, “but each member of the ticket brings both lived and professional experiences that will enable them to advocate for you and deliver.”

Wojciechowski said she believes they won because of their detailed policy action items that were aimed to target specific issues valued by many students. 

Their focus on certain populations are believed to yield results and benefits to those who might not have seen that success under a different executive branch. 

“Our numbers in votes was further supplemented by our heavy outreach to groups whose voices haven’t been heard,” Wojciechowski said. “We thought it was incredibly insightful to listen to their concerns and the purpose they served on campus because it also helped these groups feel supported by a team who cares. By listening, we reinforce our commitment to elevate voices and to represent their concerns.”

Alejandro Sanchez, the presidential candidate for the Sanchez ticket, says he is proud of the Wojciechowski ticket and believes the election was fair, understanding why the majority of students cast their ballots for them. He said he learned a great deal from each candidate.

“I like some of the ideas they stand for and I believe that they will do amazing this upcoming year. I will also reach out to them to ensure they are also well supported,” Sanchez said.

The Paul ticket did not respond to a request for an exit interview.

Students chose to vote for them for plenty of reasons, but a trend of fearing domestic violence, sexual assault, or overall safety was a15 main component. 

“As a victim of sexual assault that occurred on campus; I endorse the Wojciechowski ticket knowing they will advocate for better safety for all students. More so, I am grateful for their attention on domestic violence awareness and willingness to take Lauren’s Promise. I feel the biggest conflict between the University of Utah and its students is lack of safety,” Hailey West said via their Instagram campaign page.

Other students commented on the ticket’s ability to bring representation of all students into student government. Multiple students mentioned specifically how they would genuinely appreciate and relate to an executive branch with members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“I’m voting for the Wojciechowski ticket because of their dedication to inclusivity and accessibility! It’s so important to have LGBTQ+ representation, especially in student government,” Conlee Dull said.

Wojciechowski came out as a queer woman at the beginning of her campaign. She announced it to her followers in the same Instagram post where she announced her candidacy for ASUU student body president. 

She said was terrified of how voters and peers might react but ultimately decided to do so because she recognized that many others are in the same position as her own. 

“My queer identity has been used as a reason not to vote for me in the past and it was a really big hurdle for me to overcome,” Wojciechowski said, “I decided to come out though because I know that there are so many students who feel like they have to hide who they are and I want to prove that you can be brave and proud of who you are.”

She said she believes she is one of the first openly queer student body presidents in the U’s history, which moves the university in the right direction in terms of inclusivity. 

“I’m a queer woman and I’m the Student Body President-Elect of the University of Utah. And I’m not afraid. I feel like our ticket broke through a lot of glass ceilings and I’m so proud of us and incredibly grateful for everyone that helped us get here,” Wojciechowski said.


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