Since the beginning of the school year, students have been receiving massive amounts of emails from the Student Government Association (SGA). The emails, while originally encouraging students to participate in SGA, eventually became confusing when they became unclear about who had won elections.
Last semester the SGA did not run class officer elections due to the fact that many of the executives that were seniors were more focused on other things, like St. Mary’s Projects.
This added more stress to the new Parliamentarian, Joshua Santangelo, who replaced a senior who graduated for the job of overseeing elections this year. Joshua worked together with Jennifer Wright to put together this year’s elections.
Santangelo not only did not know how to work with Blackboard, but he also had to deal with people not running for positions in the SGA. This caused voters to have an unusual amount of write-ins, when voters write the name of someone they know in a text box on Blackboard.
This led to ties when voters wrote in the name of a random friend. Santangelo emailed the people who tied telling them that there would be runoff elections.
But this was only one reason why there were runoff elections; Santangelo explained the massive amounts of email by saying, “The majority of [the emails] was me trying to publicize the event, but there were a couple of emails that were hectic because there were people dropping and picking up positions and that was unforeseen.”
There was also confusion with whether or not a class could have a President and Vice President abroad.
Stephon Dingle and Mark Snyder were elected President and Vice President, respectively, for the Class of 2012. Dingle is currently abroad and Snyder is currently an intern on Capitol Hill.
Normally, when the President is abroad, the Vice President takes on the President’s roles.
The SGA decided to allow the class to keep these representatives because the SGA Constitution does not say anything about what to do when a President and Vice President are abroad.
Except for dealing with the situation with the class of 2012, there are currently are no plans to change the constitution in order to prevent the problems that occurred in this past election from happening again. In response to why the voting system would not be changed in the future, President Marlena Weiss said, “The problem is not with the system; it’s more of the actions of people voting. The system would be more successful if more students got involved.”
Santangelo’s plan to publicize the elections through emails was not effective; Santangelo predicts that only about 20% of the student body voted in the elections.
Santangelo was happy to report that he believes all SGA positions are now filled. “I do not foresee any further elections at this point… that shouldn’t happen… unless something really weird happens like a senator drops.” But he is confident that the senators all want their positions.
He and Weiss both believe that all their problems with this year’s elections are now sorted out. Weiss wanted to make sure that students know that, “they’d have the floor to speak their mind” if they had any complaints about anything, including how the elections were run.