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Auburn Elects First Black Woman as SGA President

Ada Ruth Huntley was elected SGA president during callouts on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (Marie Lipski, Auburn Plainsman)
By Trice Brown
The Auburn Plainsman

Huntley reacts after being announced as the next SGA president. (Logan Ellison, The Auburn Plainsman)

Ada Ruth Huntley, junior in global studies, was announced SGA president on the back steps of Cater Hall late Tuesday night.

Ada Ruth was one of five candidates running for SGA president this term. She is the first African American woman to be elected to the position.

On Feb. 5, 11,278 out of 29,060 eligible student voters participated online in electing candidates to their positions, giving a 38.81% voter turnout.

“I am just overwhelmed,” she said. “It is just so surreal, and I am just so thankful to every single one of those people down there in green shirts.”

Ada Ruth credited her campaign’s victory to the people who invested in her, saying “it’s not anything that I did at all.”

Before her name was called, Ada Ruth said that she felt at peace. She knew if her name was called, it was where she was supposed to be her senior year, and if her name wasn’t called, it wasn’t where she was supposed to be.

“Regardless of what had happened, I would have felt so fulfilled by the people around me and the people that poured into this campaign,” Ada Ruth said. “It really was the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced in the world, so this was honestly just the cherry on top.”

After her victory was announced, Ada Ruth gave a tearful hug to her mother Elizabeth Huntley, who serves on the Auburn Board of Trustees.

During her time at Auburn, Elizabeth ran for SGA president, but she did not win.

“It’s going to be very weird working together, but I’m excited,” Ada Ruth said.

She said she’s excited to get started on her platform that she believes resonated with the Auburn student body.

“I’m so excited to get to work with Hays and Caroline,” Ada Ruth said. “They are going to be amazing alongside this journey with me over the next year.”

To those that supported her and her campaign, Ada Ruth gave her thanks.

“I have no idea what I did to deserve to be here,” she said. “I’m so incredibly blessed that you believed in me and supported me along this journey because I’m feeling ever so thankful.”

Ada Ruth said she wanted students who voted for another candidate to still feel welcome under her administration. She is excited to represent those students, too.

“If there was something that another candidate did say that resonated with you, I’m happy to hear that too,” she said. “I really am just excited to get to work with everybody and bring everybody to the table.”

Ada Ruth’s campaign and SGA vice presidential candidate Annie Ozment’s campaign were found in violation of the SGA code of laws, and each was deducted five votes. The violation involved campaign members speaking in front of a class and asking students to support Ada Ruth and Ozment. The ruling was unanimous from the election board.

Huntley assumes her role in March.

Her campaign focused on health, wellness and diversity.
Huntley said she wants to create an inclusion certification program for on-campus organizations that would encourage people to engage with the issues of diversity in a practical manner.

As someone who has experienced anxiety and depression, Huntley said she plans to establish a task force focused on mental health and advocate for a military-trained counselor for student veterans.