2022-23 ASUU Presidential Inauguration Honors Past Leadership, Emphasizes Student Voices


Allison Stuart

(Photo by Allison Stuart | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Allison Stuart, News Writer


The 2022-23 ASUU Inauguration ushered in new University of Utah student leaders while also honoring previous leadership. The event was held on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 in Red Butte Garden.

The event began with remarks from ASUU Elections Director Andrew Stender, followed by Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Martell Teasley. 

Several of the outgoing members of leadership gave speeches filled with advice, thanks and memories about their time in ASUU.  

The outgoing Assembly Chair Sarah Hong and Senate Chair Gloria Aquino spoke about their time in their respective leadership positions.

“There are things that aren’t feasible,” Hong said. “Stay focused on what you can get done.”

Mikey Miller, the outgoing attorney general, also gave a short speech.

The Wojciechowski administration was historic — the first all-female student presidency in the U’s history. All three women gave their parting speeches to pass the torch to the new VanderToolen Administration. Vice President of Student Relations Maryan Shale spoke about the leap of faith she took to join the presidential ticket.

“I think the most challenging part about this role was the self doubt and imposter syndrome,” Shale said. “I come from so many marginalized identities and I started to tell myself that I was ready to quit.”

Vice President of University Relations Tiffany Chan reflected on the contrast between her frame of mind when swearing-in as opposed to transitioning out.

“So, to be truthful, I am more nervous right now than I am relieved actually — I’m actually worried about the future of the students and how they will be represented in critical spaces and how their concerns will be heard, and how this university can simply do much more than the bare minimum,” Chan said. “Students should always be supported.”

Outgoing President Jess Wojciechowski spoke honestly about hardships she faced as the student body president.

“I couldn’t bring myself to leave without sharing the truth of my experience as student body president,” she said. “And I promised myself several months ago that I would say what I wanted to say before I left.”

She explained challenges she had with making the university hear her voice, and how they shut her out at times. She advocated against the 6% tuition increase, but was outvoted by the board of trustees.

“Making the University of Utah more expensive is a slap in the face, and tells students that they don’t belong unless they can afford it,” she said.

She explained how she felt hopeless and burnt out at times, but what really mattered was how she did her best to hold the university accountable.

Justice Anna Kaufman administered the oath of office to all the incoming members and chairs of ASUU. This included the 2022-23 assembly and senate members. CJ Reid was confirmed as the new assembly chair, with Muskan Walia as the senate chair and Tracey Mai as the attorney general. Lastly, Ashlee Roberts became the vice president of student relations, Benvin Lozada became the vice president of university relations and Taylor VanderToolen became the president. 

Roberts briefly mentioned a couple of her goals during her speech.

“One of my main goals this upcoming school year is to be a friend to all students, to be a listener to all and to promote inclusivity where it’s not apparent on campus,” Roberts said. “I really want to see some change. I want to see a lot of voices heard and I’m just ready to do it all.” 

Lozada wants to advocate for and make an impact on the more than 34,000 students that call the U home.

“We will work our hardest and I will work my hardest to make sure that you can be empowered to speak your mind, to speak your experiences and to speak your truth,” he said. 

In his inauguration speech, President VanderToolen spoke about his history as a Utah fan and how he hopes to make his family and legacy proud as he takes on this new role. However, that comes with a caveat.

“Even though I love this university, that doesn’t mean I’m content with where we’re at or that I won’t work to try to make improvements,” he said. 

VanderToolen explained he wants to give back to the university that has already given him so much. 

“Let us all remember that we represent the University of Utah and the legacies that so many have left for us and let us work to leave a legacy for future generations of proud Utah families,” he said. 


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