Regan Smock, José Muñiz Jr. announce their Undergraduate Student Government presidential ticket

USG election season began Sunday night with the sole executive ticket declaring their candidacy and outlining their vision for the undergraduate population at the University of Iowa.


Kate Heston

University of Iowa students José Muñiz Jr. and Regan Smock pose for a portrait outside of the Old Capital building on Sunday afternoon. Muniz and Smock are running for office in the upcoming University Student Government election.

Grace Hamilton, News Reporter

On the first official night of the Undergraduate Student Government’s 2021 election season, Regan Smock and José Muñiz Jr. announced their candidacy for president and vice president to represent the university’s undergraduate population, the sole pair to do so.

Smock currently serves as USG Director of Academic Affairs. Muñiz Jr. is the Latino/x Men and Masculinities Project student lead for the Office of Multicultural and International Student Support and Engagement.

“We’re running on five core values, those values being collaboration, transparency, community, accountability, and compassion,” Muñiz Jr. said. “…I think there’s not enough people who are listening to students, seeing what they need, and just honestly being a helping hand or a listening ear.”

The pair is also campaigning on seven areas of change: sustainability, academic affairs, student life, health and safety, justice and equity, governmental relations, and operations.

Smock said she is particularly excited about strengthening the crossover between sustainability and academic affairs.

“Right now, we’re doing a lot between academic affairs and sustainability which usually, I feel like there’s not a lot of connection,” Smock said. “We’re taking the textbook drive – where we take textbooks people don’t want and give them away for free – and incorporating that into ‘Donate Don’t Dump’ in residence halls. Instead of people throwing away their textbooks, they can throw them in this bin, and we’ll sort through them and give them to students for free.”

Smock said that she would advocate for implementing a sustainability general education requirement across all colleges at the university.

Muñiz Jr. said an initiative driving the campaign’s core values involves improving representation across campus.

“We will be advocating for more representation of underrepresented students, especially in University Counseling Services,” he said. “Just being able to have more underrepresented students see people of the same race, same ethnicity, and same identity in positions of power gives a sense of belonging, someone to look up to, and someone to relate to.”

The voting period opens on April 5 and closes on April 8 at 5 p.m., said USG Student Elections Commissioner Andy Swiston. Smock and Muñiz Jr. make up the sole ticket for USG’s executive branch election.

In addition to voting on USG’s executive members, Swiston said undergraduate students can vote for constituency senators, independent senators, and at-large senators. None of those races are currently contested, he added.

“There are 45 senators that should wind up being elected that are made up of nine constituency senators, seven independent senators, and 29 at-large senators,” Swiston said. “None of these elections are currently contested. Six independents are running for a senate seat, and there are 28 ticketed senators running for the 29 at-large seats.”

Three students are running for the nine constituency positions, Swiston said.

Although students would have experienced in-person campaigning events and activities during a typical year, Swiston said he is confident in the social media driven methods candidates are using.

“A lot of the global campaign practices are disallowed. In-person tabling is normally pretty big, but that’s just not happening. We don’t want people doing risky, in-person stuff,” Swiston said. “Social media campaigns will be common…I know masks are going to be given out this year because everyone needs masks, and that’s a good material to brand and way to get your campaign out there.”

While current USG President Connor Wooff anticipates most campaigning will ensue online, he said candidates can fill out a form to host in-person events.

“Our candidates have been given request forms through the Critical Instant Management Team, so if they wanted to host an in-person event, they’d have to request it through the campus-wide form and get approval by the CIMT,” Wooff said. “To my knowledge, I don’t think there’s going to be any in-person just because we know it’s a lot safer and more accessible if we offer it virtually.”

Smock said virtual barriers would not prevent her and Muñiz Jr. from using their unique leadership experiences to understand undergraduate student needs.

“I think that you should vote Regan and José because our combined experiences are incredibly impressive,” Smock said. “I also think that me being in student government for two years and José never being in student government is this beautiful thing. I have some background knowledge, but to have a perspective that is brand new is exactly what student government needs.”