The Student Government Association (SGA) will be changing the way they handle tickets during elections. In the past, senate tickets could affiliate themselves with an executive board ticket. However, due to the new policy change, executive board tickets and senate tickets must be separated. They will no longer be able to run as one big ticket.
Frank Mabalatan, a junior business management and political science major and SGA vice president, announced this policy change. He says this change is necessary in order to make elections more open to all students. As well, he hopes this will stop students from becoming discouraged from trying to run for positions in SGA.
“It’s very advantageous for an incumbent to win in the structure, so when we have prospective candidates for senate seats they want to usually attach themselves to the incumbent’s ticket,” Mabalatan said.
“What I’ve found from last semester and from my own campaign, especially as someone who received the advantages of this, I saw that it was a little discouraging for people who would have otherwise been interested in a senate seat to not run. They felt like they had no chance because they weren’t affiliated with the ticket,” Mabalatan continued.
Molly Cleary, an at-large SGA senator and freshman diplomacy major, weighed in on the issue and how she thought it would affect the upcoming SGA spring elections.
“I think it is necessary to help voters find more ease in deciding who to vote for,” Cleary said. “Instead of having yes to the executive board and no to senate or vice-versa issue, the voter can decide these two separately. I believe that this will ameliorate the voting process. I think it may increase voter turnout and decrease the in-SGA voting issues that may create a this side or that side divide within the organization.”
Not all SGA members were in favor of this policy change. Stefan Ferreira, SGA at-large senator and sophomore diplomacy major, talked about the issues he has with this new change.
Ferreira said that after consideration, he is generally opposed to the election rule changes for “one important reason.”
He went on to say that, “students had no say about the changes made to their election. To my understanding, students were not adequately polled, surveyed and consulted about the changes to their election this spring. Additionally, I was very surprised to hear about the election rules change, because – to my understanding – the elections committee had not asked the senate for input about the changes.”
This change will be in effect for the upcoming Spring Semester SGA elections. The campaign period for this year’s elections will begin March 9 and the actual elections will take place on March 23. On March 23 all Seton Hall students will receive an email with a link to a survey where they can vote in the SGA elections.
Mabalatan said he thinks this policy change will help make the positions more achievable and welcoming to all students who want to be a part of SGA.
Mabalatan said, “my goal with SGA and hosting an election is to make sure everyone feels welcome to serve their fellow student and to serve in a capacity that they feel a sense of duty to.”
He also talked about the purpose of SGA and the values of an SGA leader.
“An overarching thing I always say about SGA is government is a very interesting word to describe us,” Mabalatan said.
He went on to say that they don’t make laws for the school, tax people or do a lot of the functions of a state or federal government.
“I think the most important thing that we do is reach out to them, reach out to our fellow students and seek to understand what their experience is like,” Mabalatan said. “On a campus with a whole variety of student experiences we want to make sure that every student experience is accommodated for. I think the most important characteristic of an SGA member is advocating. Having SGA members as advocates is really important to me.”
Genevieve Krupcheck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.