Males dominate next year’s SGA e-board

Males+dominate+next+year%E2%80%99s+SGA+e-board

Julia Perkins

The SGA e-board will be all males next year, differing from past years.
[/media-credit] The SGA e-board will be all males next year, differing from past years.

All five members of the Student Government Association’s 2016-2017 executive board are male, even though the student body is majority female.

If you think that’s strange, you’re not alone. Members of this year and next year’s e-board think so too.

“I’m not sure whether it’s a trend or whether it’s a unique circumstance that has occurred for this year, but I was pretty shocked by it to be honest,” this year’s Student Body President Jonny Atkin said. 

Only males ran for e-board positions this year, even though Atkin said historically there has been an even split of men and women who run for general board and e-board.

For the last three years, there were two females and three males on SGA e-board. In the 2012-2013 academic year, there were one female and four males. Meanwhile, 61 percent of Quinnipiac students are females, while 39 percent are males, according to the Quinnipiac website.

“Right when I realized all five [positions] were males running, I was like ‘What’s going on? Something’s gotta change,’” Joey Mullaney, who was elected to be next year’s student body president, said.

But this year, Atkin said the five to six females who were eligible to run for SGA executive board chose not to because they either went abroad or did not have time to commit to the position because of class and responsibilities for other organizations. Only students who have studied at Quinnipiac for three semesters and been on SGA for two semesters can run for SGA executive board.

“It’s going to be hard not having a female perspective at all times,” Mullaney said. “But I’m really going to make an effort to rely on our senior class president next year as well as our junior class president, who are both females.”

Junior Pati Bailey said she did not realize at first that the executive board will be all males.

“I don’t really think it’s a huge deal,” she said. “As long as they bring forward good ideas and are able to get stuff done. It doesn’t really matter the genders.”

Kathryn Pereira, who will be the senior class president next year, said the e-board being all male should not have much of an effect on SGA.

“I think as long as students feel comfortable coming to us, it doesn’t matter what our gender is,” she said.

The executive board is approachable, Pereira said, but if for whatever reason students did not feel comfortable talking to one of those men, they could speak to someone else on SGA.

“Joey is such a friendly and great person to talk to, he’s very open and I’ve never had a problem talking to him [when I wasn’t] on SGA,” she said. “So I think the personalities that we have in the executive board shouldn’t deter anyone from being able to speak to an all-male executive board, no matter what their gender is. However, if that were to be a thought process in someone’s head, they could go to anyone.”

Junior Rouky Diallo said she suspects students will still feel comfortable going to the executive board.

“The student body did vote them in,” Diallo said. “They weren’t just chosen or placed there.”

Still, Vice President for Student Experience Lindsey Banks said she understands how an all-male executive board might affect students’ perceptions of SGA.

“If I was from the outside looking in I would probably be frustrated,” she said. “I’d be like ‘Come on, let’s get some women in there, let’s see what we can do.’”

But she said if more women are going to be on the e-board, then more women need to want to be on e-board.

“I think going forward that really it starts externally first,” Banks said. “Because the more women that we have run for SGA in general, the more possibility that we can have of people being in power within the organization and working within the organization to then run for executive board positions.”

And this year’s Student Body Vice President Carly Hviding said it also may start freshman year. One of the reasons the executive board tends to have more males than females may be because the freshman class president is usually male, Hviding said. It was not until the Class of 2019 voted in September for a female, Baily Hersh, to be their class president that a woman was class president her freshman year.

“I think what happens is these males take on freshman leadership roles in SGA,” Hviding said. “And if they choose to stay in the organization, typically by their junior year they are ready to move on to e-board, so they run for e-board. And then you’ll see a lot of your strong female representatives taken on leadership roles within the [class] cabinets their junior and senior year.”

This will be true next year, with Pereira and Tatyana Youssef serving as senior and junior class presidents, respectively. But this academic year, the senior class had a male president and male vice president.

Hviding and Atkin said it’s hard to tell why males are almost always elected freshman class president, especially since a higher percentage of women vote in SGA elections than men, Atkin said.

Hviding said perhaps males win the freshman class president election because there are fewer men on campus.

“It might have to do with it’s easier for boys to be remembered on a mostly female campus,” she said. “I think that stands out to people. When boys are trying to take leadership roles, especially at the beginning, you have a bunch of freshmen girls voting, and then they see a lot of girls and then the boys might stand out more.”

One of Atkin’s guesses is that female students react differently to a female candidate and campaign. He noticed this his freshman year when he ran for and won the freshman class president election.

“I remember my year, I think it was the fact that [I was] a younger, enthusiastic male walking around the female dorms and stuff like that…I think there’s just maybe more of a willingness to hit the female demographics more as a male,” Atkin said.

However, junior Tom Forkan said he does not think the student body is subconsciously sexist when voting in SGA elections.

“I feel like we live in a generation where we have a black president now…we’re all talking about equality,” he said. “I don’t think that that’s a big factor in kids deciding who they want for their president.”

Hviding was one of the students who ran for class president against Atkin her freshman year, but ended up being elected as a representative. She said she never felt like sexism came into play when she or others campaigned over the years.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard somebody say, ‘Oh I’m not going to vote for her because she’s a woman,’” Hviding said. “I’ve never heard that before. And as somebody who’s campaigned as a girl, I never really felt like it was a sexist thing if I ever lost.”