Recent runoff elections have left some on the Student Association Executive Board uncertain of what next year will look like.
With two weeks of classes left in the semester, the only Student Association 2014-15 E-Board positions that have been definitively filled are Alex Liu for president, Chris Zamlout for executive vice president (EVP) and Nayemai-Isis McIntosh Green for vice president for multicultural affairs (VPMA).
Stephanie Zagreda and Don Greenberg, who won their runoff elections on April 10 for vice president for programming (VPP) and vice president of academic affairs (VPAA), respectively, await approval of their election results, which will be voted on at the Student Congress meeting on Monday, April 28.
“It’s extremely hectic,” said Zagreda, a junior majoring in English. “It’s hard on everyone when you have a runoff situation, because it’s about how you get people trained and ready as quickly as you can.”
Greenberg said that the runoff elections have delayed the work he was hoping to accomplish. With the academic year’s end right in near sight, timing is a main concern.
“I’ve only been back at school since [Wednesday],” said Greenberg, a junior triple-majoring in computer science, finance and mathematics. “The next three weeks of my life are going to be maniacal.”
He said that because his position is not yet official, he has held back on his involvement with the new E-Board.
“I’ve been hesitant to push things into full swing because I haven’t been approved by Congress yet,” Greenberg said. “There is no reason I should put all my chips on the table doing things as the VPA-elect when I don’t have that certainty yet.”
Other members of the E-Board expressed concern that new members would not have sufficient time to prepare for their jobs and meet with the current E-Board members for advice and assistance.
“We need to do training. So you have half of an E-Board being trained, and half not being trained. We started going to SA E-Board meetings, and only two or three of the elected could go,” Zagreda said. “It’s really hard, since the SA is trying to train you for the upcoming year and there is so much to do, but a lot of people can’t start.”
Zamlout said he agreed, and that the current E-Board has a lot to teach before the end of the semester.
“Our past Executive Board members have a wealth of information but only a few weeks to impart it on their successors,” said Zamlout, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law.
Liu, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, said he aims to meet with the new E-Board next week to “try to establish a direction” for next year.
The position of vice president for finance (VPF) remains undecided. While the original March 28 election results had Ethan Shepherd beating opponent Thomas Sheehan for the VPF seat, Student Congress voted to hold a runoff election April 25 following a formal complaint alleging unfair campaign practices on Shepherd’s part. Sheehan won the runoff with 845 votes to Shepherd’s 529.
This result is still unofficial. Shepherd filed an official grievance with the Judicial Board, claiming that holding the runoff was unconstitutional or unfounded. An official winner will not be declared until the Judicial Board rules on the grievance April 30.
Liu said that had Congress waited to hold a runoff until after a ruling from the Judicial Board, there might have not been enough time for the revote to take place.
Looking forward to next year, Liu and Zamlout said they want to focus on improving the relationship between the student body and the Student Association.
“I want the student body to know that every SA official is a resource and advocate for them and think that this department would help achieve that goal,” Zamlout said.
Liu also said he wants to see more students actively engaging with the SA, since he believes that they have a lot to offer.
“I really want to make sure that students start to have a positive image of the student association,” Liu said. “We need to make sure that students know this is a great opportunity for them to develop themselves and interact with things that are operating at a very high level.”
Greenberg said he had found a silver lining in what he called a humbling election experience.
“Elections gave me a lot of perspective on the campus; I learned a lot about different student groups I didn’t know much about and what the Student Association needs,” Greenberg said. “I met people that are doing very interesting things on campus, and I was impressed with what I had been missing.”