SGA changes policy for special elections

David Hutter

The Student Government Association has passed a motion that changes the procedure for special elections.

Previously, candidates seeking an open position had to attend an SGA meeting and verbally express their reasons for wanting the position. With the passage of the motion, the policy now calls for the student who had the most votes from the preceding general election but did not become a representative to assume the open position, as long as the student still wants the position and is in good academic and disciplinary standing.

Benjamin Oser, SGA vice president of public relations, proposed the motion on Sept. 14, which passed with a 17-7 vote. The vote did not include freshman members of the SGA because the class’ representatives had not yet been elected.

Mark Antonucci, SGA vice president of student concerns, wrote the proposal with the other members of the Executive Board during the summer. Antonucci wanted the entire student body’s voice to count in choosing representatives in special elections, he said.

“We wanted the students to have more of a say in their student government,” said Antonucci, a senior marketing and public relations major from Cranston, R.I.

On Sept. 16, two days after the special election policy was changed, the SGA filled an open class representative position. Christina Valvano, who in the spring 2005 semester ran for the sophomore class representative in the general election, received a phone call from SGA President Steve Geller asking if she wanted to accept the position.

Valvano, who did not expect the phone call, jumped at the opportunity she had campaigned for last semester.

“I was shocked,” Valvano said.

A physical therapy major from Eastchester, N.Y., Valvano is glad the SGA changed its special elections policy. Had the policy not been changed, she doubts she would have campaigned for a class representative seat again, she said.

“I feel this is a positive [change] because it takes into account the people that didn’t make it in the last election, but were really interested,” Valvano said. “In my case, I didn’t want to do it [run in the general election] again because I was kind of scared of failure.”

The Student Government Association’s Election Policy states that the organization must hold a special election within one week of a class representative’s departure from the organization. Reasons prompting such a departure include students’ resignation, impeachment, studying abroad for a semester, or leaving Quinnipiac, said Ed Kovacs, Director of the Carl Hansen Student Center and an advisor to the SGA.

The reason for the vacancy in the sophomore class position stemmed from the resignation of a representative who had planned to transfer from Quinnipiac, said Daniel Brown, Assistant Director of the Carl Hansen Student Center and an advisor to SGA.

Brown, who said that it is not uncommon for the SGA to lose two members during the summer, worked closely with the five-member SGA Executive Board in writing the proposal. He lauds the new policy as more inclusive of the entire student body:

“I was glad to see the organization go in that direction because it allows the students to have more voice in who’s representing them,” Brown said.