SA referendum approaching

As spring approaches, so too does Geneseo election season, which will include voting on Student Association positions as well as the biannual referendum on the mandatory student activity fee.

An eight-member executive committee composed of Geneseo students heads SA. According to their Web site, it is the "legislative and executive branch of student government" and has the responsibility to "represent student interests to the college, the state and external groups" as well as to provide services to the student body.

"This year we have two competing Student Association election parties: the Imagine party and Vision party," said junior Raymond Lord, chairman of the Undergraduate Student Association Elections Committee and resident assistant in Ontario hall.

Students running under the Imagine party include junior Haleema Murtaza for president, sophomore Nicholas Kaasik for vice president, freshman Hamza Murtaza for Student Affairs representative, junior Brian Hartle for Academic Affairs representative and sophomore Mateh Kamsutchom for the public relations position. The party has not named candidates for Inter-Residence Council, Student Programming and Business Affairs.

Candidates in the Vision party include sophomore Douglas Sinski for president, freshman Dayshawn Simmons for vice president, sophomore Erika Collins for Student Affairs representative, freshman Thomas Buneo for Academic Affairs representative, sophomore Melissa Kaye for IRC, junior Corinthia Kotlar for Student Programming, senior Rebecca Coons for public relations and sophomore Mark Petrie for Business Affairs.

Eligibility to run for a position is open to all full-time students of any class standing who are able to obtain 100 signatures from their peers.

The candidates said they agree that voting is essential because SA is such an integral part of Geneseo life. "SA is important because it represents every student on campus," said Buneo, current vice chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.

"I'm sure everyone with an actual understanding of just how much power SA holds to directly affect the programs they value at Geneseo would take the time to attend a meeting," added Kamsutchom.

There will be several upcoming meetings where some of the candidates will be available to speak and answer questions. The next meeting in which candidates will be available is IRC on Monday, March 23 at 8 p.m. in the Hunt Room of the College Union.

"During the campaigning days students should consider each candidate and attend the speeches to obtain a full view of each person running," Haleema Murtaza said.

In addition to the upcoming SA elections, there will also be a vote on the mandatory student activity fee. The $85 fee that students pay each semester supports all SA clubs and programs.

"Voting in the referendum is essential because the referendum is the life-blood of all exciting things on this campus," said Lord.

The SUNY Board of Trustee guidelines mandates that a vote on the referendum be held every two years during campus elections. The vote determines whether the fee is voluntary or mandatory.

Funding from the referendum goes to support all SA clubs and programs including GOLD, Geneseo Late Knight, The Lamron, GSTV, Activities Commission and services such as the ticket office and vacation bus program.

If the referendum is not passed, "organizations would lose funding, [and] many of the campus programs would cease to exist or take drastic cuts," said Coons.

"We surely hope that students recognize the importance of the vote and the effects it has on the campus and take to the polls with their opinions," Lord said.

Voting for both the SA positions and referendum will take place after break between March 27 and March 30.

Students can vote by logging into their KnightWeb accounts and following the "Answer a Survey" link. Polling stations will also be available in the Union, Letchworth and Red Jacket dinning halls.