SA VP and president to run on separate ballots in 2015

SA Assembly and Senate vote on new election procedures

On April 24, 2014

  • The Student Assembly voted Melissa Kathan, a sophomore political science major, to serve as Speaker of the Assembly again for the 2014-15 year. Chad Cooper, The Spectrum

On Wednesday, the Student Association Assembly voted to change election guidelines to have presidential and vice presidential candidates running on separate ballots.

During an impromptu Senate meeting on the same night, the SA Senate passed an amendment allowing the SA president to appoint the SUNY delegates.

The Assembly also voted Melissa Kathan, a sophomore political science major, to be speaker of the Assembly for the second year in a row.

The previous election system required the presidential and vice presidential candidate to be elected together. It also gave the student body the ability to elect the four SUNY delegates.

James Ingram, SA President-elect, believes the changes SA made are warranted.

"The President and Vice President of the Student Association serve very different roles," Ingram said in an email. "Because this is the case, it only makes sense to allow students to elect the positions separately."

Matt Siwiec, elections and credentials chair and international council coordinator, proposed these amendments before the Assembly, which passed the changes unanimously. About 30 people voted.The Senate passed the SUNY delegate amendment 11-0-1, according to Kathan.

Ingram was the only senator to abstain because he "felt that [senators] could have had more time to discuss this change."

Siwiec proposed these changes because he feels there are flaws in the current delegate election system. He said the parties tend to pick delegates they think will "bolster their party votes."

Daniel Giles, the Senate chair, agreed the current delegate system in place needed to be overhauled.

"It's no secret that the way SA elections work is according to a prescribed 'formula,'" Giles said in an email. "Especially in choosing delegates, quality and competency take a backseat to make sure you can bring in large voting blocks by running certain people."

Kathan held the Senate meeting on Wednesday night in place of Giles because he was not able to attend.

Before the meeting, Kathan ran against Andrew Baumgartner, the Assembly's Academic Committee assistant, for the Speaker of the Assembly position. Kathan won with a 26-4 vote.

Kathan said she completed her goals as speaker within the last year by increasing the number of students in the assembly and passing more amendments.

Her goals for the next school year are to become more involved with the four committees in Assembly and to encourage the assembly to host more events. Kathan also wants to increase the amount of freshman signatures to Assembly and to host a "What is SA?" day.

She said she has learned a lot from being speaker for the past year and watching SA progress.

"I definitely saw how important loyalty is and how important doing your job is," she said. "The people who work hard are the people who are rewarded and it's your duty to fulfill whatever you run on."

Kathan said being speaker of the Assembly is now a part of her "identity." She said she has many plans for the next year and is excited to serve as speaker again.


Samaya Abdus-Salaam contributed reporting to this story.



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