by Analisa Novak
The first campaign posters for the Student Government Association executive board elections were posted online four weeks before the official deadline for applications. A historic total of 12 candidates will be running for SGA President, Vice President and Treasurer. All the candidates differ from experience and background, but 11 of them knew of this election, while one was left in the dark.
Student Victor Constanza had no idea an election was even happening until his friend, a former SGA senator, told him about it.
“I actually heard about the election through a friend. I did not even know an election was going on until he told me. He was a former SGA member and he just knows because of his connections, “said Constanza.
Through word of mouth, Constanza found out about the election last Wednesday and hardly made the deadline two days later.
“I had two days to come up with a good application. The applications require a short statement, biography, and reasons why people show vote for me. I wanted to make them good,” said Constanza.
Constanza is the only executive board candidate that is not involved in SGA. According to Constanza, had his friend not told him about the election, he would not have known.
“I did not hear of these elections through e-mail or anything. Maybe I did not check my email well, but with what I observe SGA did not advertise this opening position that well. Even when you sign on to The Link, the application was not on the home page,” said Constanza.
He is not alone; unlike past elections, there was no student body announcement, email or even tweet, making this election completely unknown to the majority of the student body. The very first and only public announcement of the election was done during the SGA senate meeting on Feb. 8.
“E-board and general elections packets for the next academic year will be released the 13. E-board packets will be due March 3, and general elections packets are due April 5,” said SGA Vice President Cappiello.
The responsibility of promoting SGA elections falls on the Public Affairs Committee run by SGA senator Kassandra Fruin.
“According to the bylaws of the SGA, the elections committee is charged with planning the dates and guidelines of the elections. The bylaws do not spell anything out for when it comes to elections committee’s involvement in promoting the elections, that falls under the public affairs committee,” said Cappiello.
The previous year Public Affairs committee announced it to the public through a series of tweets, as well as during the SGA senate meetings.
This year, the SGA Public Affairs committee has posted 23 tweets since the official announcement, not one of them informing students about the executive elections.
Fruin, said that the reason why this election was not promoted was due to the SGA Senator special elections that happened. Fruin said that committee got overwhelmed with the special elections and due to that reason alone, they did not actively promote the executive elections.
However Fruin, who is running for vice president was one of the first people to submit her election packets. She is running with the current E-Board members; Vice President Cappiello and Treasurer Brendan Kruh. They announced their candidacy on Feb. 14, the day after packets were released.
Fruin, who received the position as Public Affairs Committee Chair after a sudden resignation, has also dealt with a personal family mater that has had her leaning on the support of the senate. She acknowledged due to this she has not been able to preform to the best of her ability, but is proud of the work and committee and will focus on the upcoming E-board debate.
“I know the struggles of my personal life are not an excuse, and I acknowledge this was a mistake made by myself reflecting onto the committee as a whole. With the Special Election being on the forefront, we neglected to promote the election packets. However, I am proud of the Public Affairs Committee for their work this semester and I hope in the future we will not make a similar error. We are currently in the works of promoting the E-board Debate and voting dates, along with the General Election,” said Fruin.
Constanza believes though that these actions make SGA appear to only favor those who are on the senate, he hopes if he is elected he would change this.
“These elections should be open to everyone. SGA is creating an image of inclusiveness and that image will turn off students. SGA is ruining a connection with the students, and I truly want to change that,” said Constanza.
Constanza realizes he is not on the SGA, but believes he is as qualified as any other candidate. He is not discouraged from this and is excited to run.
“I always love helping people and I try to take the opportunity when positions open up. If SGA is trying to not publicly announce these elections, maybe they are trying to stop people like me who are running. However, I understand that concern, but I do feel like I am highly qualified for this position,” said Constanza.
To be eligible to run for an E-board position, individuals must be a full-time undergraduate student in good standing and do not have to previously be a SGA senator. Current SGA President Jahmil Effend hopes no student feels discouraged to not run.
“Joining the SGA has changed my life in so many ways and I’d never want to prevent or discourage anyone from running for any position on the Senate. The great thing about the Student Government is that it is not an exclusive organization. It doesn’t matter your experience level or who you know, SGA is an organization you can be a part of,” Effend said.
Elections will take place from March 27 to 30. All eligible students can be vote via thelink.ccsu.edu.