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Patton Byars will become next student body president

<p>Third-year political science student Patton Byars and second-year public health and political science student Courtney Tkacs pose for a photo with their team following the announcement of the Student Government election results on Feb. 21, 2024. Tkacs and Byars campaigned together as running mates for the election.</p>
Third-year political science student Patton Byars and second-year public health and political science student Courtney Tkacs pose for a photo with their team following the announcement of the Student Government election results on Feb. 21, 2024. Tkacs and Byars campaigned together as running mates for the election.

Patton Byars will become the next student body president, the elections commissioner announced on Wednesday.

In addition to Byars, Courtney Tkacs was elected as vice president, Maura Hamilton as speaker of the student senate and Jacob Vaught as treasurer. All candidates ran unopposed this year.

Byars, who served as chief of staff for former Student Body Presidents Reedy Newton and Emmie Thompson, ran a campaign aimed at fixing common issues among students at USC, including infrastructure, safety, student experience and Wi-Fi. 

Byars said he is ready to hit the ground running once he assumes his role in late March, working to accomplish his campaign promises. 

"(On) March 20, I pledge, I will be meeting with Mr. Brice Bible (the incoming vice president for information technology), and we're going to be talking about Wi-Fi on our campus," Byars said.

Tkacs, who serves as chief of staff to Speaker of the student senate Cameron Eubanks, ran on a joint ticket with Byars. A large part of her platform focused on addressing student housing issues — especially upperclassmen struggling to find on-campus accommodations after their first year.

Tkacs said she is eager to start forming relationships with members of the campus community so that she will be better suited to represent them.

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Third-year finance and marketing student Abrianna Reaves and second-year public health and political science student Courtney Tkacs hug after hearing the results of the Student Government election on Feb. 21, 2024. Tkacs ran unopposed for the position of student body vice president. 

"I can't wait to meet all of the faculty and administration and build relationships with them to be able to fix problems," Tkacs said.

Hamilton, who is a senator for the College of Nursing and chairwoman of the senate judiciary committee, ran on a platform that had four key pillars, including "for the Gamecock campus," "for the Gamecock citizen," "for the Gamecock classroom" and "for you." A key point of Hamilton's platform is increasing senators' outreach to their student constituents.

Hamilton said she hopes to start working on outreach to recruit more student senators for the next senate term.

"I want to work on filling some of our vacant senate seats. My goal by the end of the year is to fill all 50 spots, and hopefully that will be possible," Hamilton said.

Vaught, who is the chair of the ad hoc committee for finance reform, ran a campaign that centered on implementing the new finance reforms passed this year and making Student Government funds more equitable for all student organizations.

Vaught was not present at the results announcement and was therefore unavailable for comment.

Out of the 45 senators currently in student senate, only nine returned. The rest did not run again. 

The newly elected members will be inaugurated on Wednesday, March 20, in Rutledge Chapel from 4 to 5:30 p.m.


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