Voter participation decreases in election for 2018-19 SA executive committee

The 2017-18 Student Association Executive Committee held its weekly meeting on Wednesday March 28 in the MacVittie College Union’s Hunt Room (pictured above). Unofficial results for the election to replace the current executive committee were  released on Tuesday March 27, demonstrating that the vast majority of students did not vote. (Theo Liu/Assoc. Photo Editor)

The Undergraduate Student Association Elections Committee announced the results of its election on Tuesday March 27. Around 400 students participated in the electronically administrated election, representing a drop compared to last year, according to the unofficial results posted on Tuesday March 27.

The new executive committee will consist of currently serving SA Director of Academic Affairs junior Corey Wilkinson as SA President, currently serving SA Vice President Adam Hansen as SA Vice President and currently serving SA Director of Student Programming junior Julia Sisti as SA Director of Student Programming.  

Additionally, political science and communication double major senior Rohan Bhuchar will serve as Director of Public Relations, pre-biology major sophomore Emily Carozzi will serve as SA Director of Academic Affairs, political science major sophomore Emily Matura will serve as SA Director of Inter-Residence Affairs and business administration and international relations double major junior Patrick Kanzler will serve as SA Director of Business Affairs. 

The position of SA Director of Student Affairs and Diversity has not yet had conclusive results due to a complication with the Elections Committee, according to current SA President senior Kaitlin Pfundstein. Pfundstein did not clarify what the complications with the committee were, but said that the official results will be released next week. 

Of the eight positions, only the positions of Vice President and Director of Student Affairs and Diversity were contested. Chemistry, economics and political science triple major sophomore Jasmine Cui received 30.29 percent of the vote against Hansen. Biology and psychology double major junior Chloe Ladias and English major freshman Yadelin Fernandez split the vote for Director of Student Affairs and Diversity with a 13 vote difference, according to the unofficial results. 

The students who voted in the SA elections, according to the unofficial results, comprise almost eight percent of the 5,495 undergraduate students enrolled at Geneseo in the fall 2017 semester, as listed in the Geneseo Institutional Research Fact Book. The percentage of voters represents a decrease from the 20 percent of students who voted in the 2017 SA elections, according to an article in The Lamron

Women’s and gender studies major sophomore Keyanna Brown, who did not vote in the election, believes that currently many students feel no incentive to vote. 

“I feel like they send us emails about it, but it’s not really stressed. We get an email once each week about the election, but other stuff is going on so we don’t really remember to vote,” Brown said. “Then most people don’t know who the people are on the ballot to vote, so it kind of feels [purposeless].”

SA should make it easier for students to vote by holding events, putting up posters to advertise the election or allowing students to vote through other means, like on Canvas, Brown said. 

The current executive committee has emphasized initiatives that cater to the student body as a success from this year, including the Geneseo Speaks petition website and graduate test preparation service, according to Pfundstein.

“We were able to get the ball rolling with Geneseo Speaks … [and] we recently started putting up responses to those petitions and bridged the gap of communication between students and the administration,” Pfundstein said. “I think being able to subsidize graduate test prep classes and materials really reaches a group of students who previously had not really been engaged in [SA] related activities. Those are two accomplishments this year I’m most proud of.”

Wilkinson plans to continue similar initiatives to strengthen communication between students and the administration as SA president.

“My goal is to keep increasing the transparency between students and the administration and make sure students are heard,” Wilkinson said. “I’ll be working with UPD to help foster positive relations between them and students living on and off-campus. I would also like to continue to work on the graduate test program. We aren’t sure yet what our budget will be, but I think it’s so important in assisting students who aren’t normally connected to SA.”

Bhuchar plans to further promote Geneseo Speaks during his time as Public Relations Director.

“I [help] chair the Undergraduate Senate and a lot of what Geneseo Speaks does affects the Senate,” Bhuchar said. “I do think Speaks has been good and I want to continue to make it a way that students can convey the problems they want to be solved.”u


News editor Malachy Dempsey contributed reporting to this article. 

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