Posts Tagged ‘Student Government Association’
Elections for the next Student Government Association (SGA) President were extended last night, as total votes barely surpassed half the amount required to appoint someone to the position.
Voting was scheduled to end at 11:59 tonight, however the lack of votes lead to the five-day extension voted on by a majority of the members of the Senate Nominations and Elections Committee (SNEC).
This is the second year SGA has had to extend the voting period.
Twenty percent of the student body, or 3,000 people, need to vote to meet the requirements, but only 1,587 were cast as of 2 p.m. yesterday. Members of SNEC said last night that, while deadline extensions are not ideal, they remain hopeful that the requirement gap can be filled.
‘Granted, it’s not guaranteed [that the 20 percent mark will be met], but I hope it will be,’ SGA Parliamentarian Chris Bourne said. ‘It will give students time if they haven’t done so already to vote, and they’ll be online registering for classes and see the voting application. I think it’ll be more traffic and would help us a lot.’
If the necessary votes are not cast, SGA joint senate will decide the vote. Bourne said he hoped the vote count will be released to the joint senate if this situation occurred so they will vote in accordance with the students.
However, if the amount of votes is close to the 20 percent threshold, Bourne said the direct elections manual would be overridden and the votes that had been cast would be the official count.
Since last year, there has been more promotion of the elections, with the use of Facebook ads to promote the election and sending out e-mails that will be sent to students today, SGA Director of Public Relations Amanda Sabia said. Despite these efforts, the numbers were similar to last years’.
Sabia said she expects numbers to grow in the upcoming years.
‘We have to remember it’s a new practice and this is only our third year,’ she said. ‘With any new program it takes a little bit of time. ‘hellip; I think it will be successful but it’s still the running start so we need to lay the basics of the elections before they flourish.’
The first year that direct elections were instated, 27.5 percent of the student body voted, according to the April 11, 2007 issue of the Northeastern News.
But even if SGA does get its 20 percent, the organization faces another hurdle:’ the no confidence vote. Some student groups said they were suggesting that members vote no confidence in the election for various reasons. The Husky Energy Action Team (HEAT) did not endorse a candidate for the first time since direct elections started three years ago due to weak platforms.
‘Neither candidate truly has a strong enough platform on sustainability than we wish and we feel is necessary,’ said HEAT Director of Marketing and Public Relations Dan Abrams.
Abrams said he heard that other student groups will vote no confidence, but are reluctant to speak out because they don’t want to upset the next potential president.
‘I think that other groups should voice their opinion,’ Abrams said. ‘I think student groups are made up of the most involved people, and I think that if they themselves don’t believe in either candidate, that it shows something.’
However, Sabia said she thinks the candidate’s tendencies to speak strongly and publicly about issues might dissuade some student groups from advocating for one candidate over the other.
Sabia said she was aware of people encouraging others to vote no confidence.
‘I think that part of it comes from both candidates are very passionate. When somebody has a lot of passion about something, there’s always going to be somebody who’s opposed to that.’
Despite these discussions, Bourne said he doesn’t expect the no confidence votes to be significant, and said they have never been more than 5 percent of the total vote count. If no confidence wins, the joint senate will then vote.
By having the extension added, Bourne said he wants students to research the candidates through their websites and put their support behind one.
‘I just stress that students vote,’ Bourne said. ‘Even if they don’t want to be an SGA senator, they should learn about the candidates and vote.’
– News staff Anne Baker contributed to this report.
*shared byline with Maggie Cassidy
More than a week before the student body votes for the next Student Government Association (SGA) president, one of the candidates has already won an election.
Senator Matt Soleyn, who is running for SGA president against SGA Vice President for Student Services Ryan Fox, was’ reelected last night as RSA Vice President for Housing Services for the 2009-10 school year.
If elected to the SGA presidency, Soleyn said he ‘would maintain both jobs.’
“I believe that connecting two groups together is something that is important,” he said. “I would be able to improve the synergy between both groups.”
However, several SGA members, including Fox and SGA President Rob Ranley, raised concerns about whether Soleyn would be able to fully commit to both jobs if he were elected president.
“If he intends on keeping the one position and pursuing the second, he still really needs to look at the options,” Ranley said. “It might indicate that he doesn’t understand the scope of what he’s taking on. Knowing what I know about the time commitment of this position on top of your academic commitments … I don’t think that you could do both to the best of your abilities.”
SGA Vice President for Student Affairs Erin Pritchard said she did ‘not think it’s possible’ to hold both positions at once.
“After seeing Rob in the office this year and knowing how much even the [vice presidents] put into this organization, it concerns me greatly if Matt were to win the student body president,” she said. “It’s too much to ask for one person to basically be in charge of two very large, very prominent organizations on campus.”
Despite repeatedly pointing to his many hours serving SGA and RSA as vouchers for his ability to take on a commitment like SGA president, Soleyn said the RSA post requires a minimum of only four hours per week.
“Honestly, it’s not a large time commitment,” he said.
He also said that holding elected executive board positions on two large student groups that could possibly take opposing stances did not present a conflict of interest.
“I do not [think it’s a conflict of interest],” he said, pointing out that he was on the e-board of the Chess Club at the same time he was on the RSA e-board. “I think that they are both working for the students. They both have similar goals, similar tasks.”
If he were to serve on the e-boards of RSA and SGA and they took opposing views, he said, then he would have to “look at the two distinct roles. You may have to agree to disagree within yourself. You have to look at what role are you acting in … When views conflict it’s a matter of being able to separate out your roles and also serving as a unifying role.”
While Fox and Ranley said that the roles did not necessarily make for conflicts of interest, there was potential for conflict in the future.
“There have been times when we have been working on joint projects and RSA has a certain stance and we have a different stance,” Ranley said. “I could see there being times where there may be one project when RSA is looking at one solution and SGA is looking at a different solution.”
Soleyn was not the only one elected to an RSA position, however.
Other winners last night included Chuck Berds, who won Vice President for Finance unopposed while Scott was elected Vice President for Administration against last minute opponent Savannah Rose.
With a strong web presence and flyers decorating campus, middler Ryan Fox is campaigning full force for Student Government Association (SGA)’ president after being nominated as a candidate at the March 9 meeting.
The theme of the campaign, Give NU a Voice, focuses on accessibility, sustainability, connection, accountability and student organizations, according to Fox’s website. Fox, who is currently the Vice President for Student Services, said between his experience and connection with students, he can help improve the SGA.
“I’ve seen a lot of different perspectives and I feel like I can connect with a wide variety of students and let them know that their voice is heard,” he said.
Additionally, Fox said that because of his current position he has a close connection with many members of the administration.
“I’ve gained a level of respect with the administration,” he said. “They’ll come to me when they have questions about how students feel about a subject.”
As a member of SGA, Fox has helped on numerous projects around campus like the renovation of the indoor quad in Curry Student Center, he said.
“Last year it was empty, and now it’s hard to find a seat in there,” he said of the increased usage since the renovation. “It affects such a large number of students and it makes meeting in groups for projects or studying easier and more accessible.”
Another project Fox has been an ongoing part of is working with dining services. He has worked to increase the number of vending machines on campus, as well as keeping dining halls and other campus eateries open later during finals weeks.
“It is one of those basic needs and when you’re going to late classes there’s a lot of times you won’t eat until late,” he said. “So, having food available late, healthy and accessible is important.”
Fox launched his campaign website on March 12 and membership on his Facebook group has grown to 462 members as of press time, including opponent Matthew Soleyn. Fox said he is a better candidate than Soleyn because of his perspective when it comes to making decisions that affect the university and its students.
“I feel like I’m more in touch and better at looking at the big picture,” he said.
Fox said he wants to increase advertising for SGA if he wins.
“The student body isn’t really aware of what we’re doing on campus,” he said. “I think it all comes back to the overall sense on campus that reaching out and connecting with students is hard.”
He encouraged feedback by prompting a discussion on his Facebook group and including a comment section on his website. Through this, he said he feels that if students have a proper outlet to convey their feelings, the relationship between the student body and SGA will improve.
“I just want to make sure that students can give us their input,” he said. “It’s a combination of web presence and presence on campus.”
Fox has been in SGA since coming to Northeastern from Audobon, Penn. He is currently on co-op in the Information Services department at Northeastern for his electrical and computer engineering major, and is a member of the Honors Program.