Contested Student Senate Election Brings new Political Tension to UNC Campus

University of Northern Colorado Student Senate

The University of Northern Colorado’s tumultuous election for student body president is far from over. Between campaigning offenses, controversial candidates and slow communication from the senate itself, students were left without a clear picture of the election.

Voting ran from April 7 to April 9 on URSA, with students filling out an online questionnaire to choose their preferred candidate for each office. Preliminary results were then announced April 12, showing Enrique Benavidez as next year’s prospective student body president. Since then, the process has diverged from the official process. 

The timeline released by the senate promised official results would be released April 16, unless grievances had been filed. However, the senate didn’t announce that grievances were behind the delay until April 22, nearly a week later. There still is no timeline for when results may be finalized.

That statement wasn’t the only time the senate changed their website part way through the process. On the second day of voting, a statement was added to the student senate website clarifying that candidate views do not reflect those of the senate as a body. While officially no reason for that statement has been given, one senator posted on Facebook the cause for the change: one controversial candidate.

Jonathan Wiggins II, who goes by Nate when speaking informally, uses the pronouns xim, xerxes and xalamander. When voting opened up, messages began spreading through the student body advising voters to report Wiggins’ campaign to the dean of students and Title IX office. Memes sent over Snapchat and on the Facebook page “UNCo Memes for Cow Tippin’ Queens” criticized Wiggins, and blasted administration for what was perceived as a lackluster response.


While the UNC population first became aware of Wiggins’ pronouns due to the election, bios on Twitter and Parler have included them for some time.  Wiggins first learned about nonstandard neopronouns through an article in the New York Times, and was immediately drawn to the idea. Wiggins chose “xim” because of a connection to popular Nickelodeon show “Invader Zim,” “xerxes” due to its significance as an Achaemenid king, and “xalamander” from a love of salamanders.

“I’m not making fun of anyone, I’m not mocking anyone, I’m not degrading anyone,” Wiggins said.

However, Wiggins wasn’t only in hot water because of the pronouns issue. Some staffers for the Wiggins campaign campaigned without masks and received reprimands. Wiggins frequently encouraged Twitter followers to join Parler, the right-wing free speech focused app that was removed from the iOS and Google Play stores. Wiggins also frequently called the results of the November 2020 presidential election into question, and released a podcast on “converting” Democrats on the issue of racism.

At the time of posting, election results still have not been finalized. Preliminary results indicate winners for most colleges, but some candidates ran unopposed. 

Preliminary results:

Cabinet Positions

Student Body President: Enrique Benavidez

Student Trustee: Rasheeda Grant

Director of Campus Relations: Kendra Smits

Director of Finance: Briauna McFadden

Director of Student Affairs: Caterina Bella Azzarello


Natural and Health Sciences: Gabi Swize, Hannah Wilson, Christa Harvey

Education and Behavioral Sciences: Jasmine Rodriguez, Kyla Glenn, Savannah Rivera

Humanities and Social Sciences: Caitlin Hass, Casey Randall, Erin Pettorino

Monfort College of Business: Emmy Morgan Scott, John Carter, Andrew Gardalen

Performing and Visual Arts: Bailey Walder, Chaya Jensen


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