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Restructuring, runoffs and recalls: Here's what you need to know about Brown's student government

In spring 2022, leadership of the three branches of student government — the Undergraduate Council of Students, the Undergraduate Finance Board and the Class Coordinating Board — formed the Student Government Association to foster better communication between each organization. 

Since then, student government has seen a series of dramatic elections — in addition to pushing for a handful of changes impacting student life.

2022 elections: Runoff and recall

In April 2022, conflicts between the existing UCS rules and new SGA policies prompted an unexpected runoff election that led to the election of Ricky Zhong ’23 as UCS president. But in fall 2022, a student filed a petition to recall Zhong from his position in response to UCS eliminating its general body. The UCS Code of Operations requires 300 signatures to initiate a recall election. 


The recall petition’s signature requirement was met in late November and the Council moved forward with the verification process earlier this spring. Both the signatures and content were approved in late January. Students reacted to the resulting Feb. 8th recall election with a mixture of indifference and confusion and Zhong kept his position with 83% of the vote.

On-campus changes 

Last month UCS worked with the Nelson Fitness Center to extend its hours. UCS also recognized the University’s student-run yearbook as an official club this spring, which reduced the cost of the yearbook by about $70. And with the Graduate Student Council, UCS worked to install menstrual product dispensers in University women’s and gender-neutral bathrooms in late February. 

UCS also collaborated with UFB to remove the fundraising requirement for campus club sports in fall 2022. 

In January 2022, UCS and UFB restructured student group categories to increase funding opportunities, ensuring all groups receive at least $300 in baseline funding every semester. 

In late fall 2022, a poll conducted by The Herald and the Brown Opinion Project showed that 43% of respondents were “unsure” if they had benefited from a UCS service or program.


Kathy Wang

Kathy Wang is a University News editor who oversees the student government and international student life beats. She is a junior from Beijing, China studying Nonfiction Writing and Comparative Literature. Growing up, she has changed her English name at least five times.


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