The only students running for any position in the Student Government Association elections this year—excluding potential write-ins—are unopposed, largely current members.
At SGA Press Night Wednesday, a public event held to inform voters about candidates, seven of the 13 people running gave a speech on their intent if they assumed the position. The rest submitted a statement and were not present because they had prior engagements, like class, or are studying at Kasteel Well.
All but one of the candidates on the ballot are current members of SGA. The ballot is closed as of March 3, and only write-in candidates will be accepted for the April 5 election. There are still many positions open where no one is running, including the class of 2018 president and the writing, literature, and publishing senator.
The current executive president, vice president, and treasurer are graduating, and they have all held their position for at least two years, making this a notable election. Both Emily Solomon, executive president, and Gabriela Kula, executive vice president, have been on SGA since their freshman year.
“For the executive board positions at least, it is a pretty significant transition for us,” Executive Treasurer John Depa said.
At Press Night, the candidate for executive president, Anne Makielski, gave a statement in person. The other executive board candidates—Madeline Ramaley, candidate for executive vice president, and Ian Mandt, candidate for executive treasurer—sent statements, as they are studying at Kasteel Well.
Other than the candidates, Sharon Duffy, interim senior associate dean of campus life; Elizabeth Northey, the organizer of the event; and a couple of people who stayed for a fraction of the event were the only audience in attendance.
Depa, in an interview prior to Press Night, talked about the importance of write-in campaigns, since all of the candidates are unopposed and there are many open positions.
“I think that competition and running against members of the student population and your peers are the key to a democracy on campus,” Depa said. “Embracing the diversity of thought and the diversity of position that comes with running against someone is critical.”
SGA elections are important because they are the gateway into student governance, Depa said. He said members discuss college issues and are also involved with executive boards on campus.
Depa sits in on Budget Priorities Planning Advisory Committee, which deals with the college's full operation budget. Solomon talks to the Board of Trustees and the Board of Advisors. Other members meet with dining committees and Emerson College Police Department committees.
According to its constitution, SGA represents student interests and concerns. Members also talk to faculty members, influence administration and campus policies, and speak for the student body. They are in charge of allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars for student organizations.
Solomon, Kula, and Depa have made many changes in the SGA system during their time on the executive board.
“It’s strange to kind of recognize that we are relinquishing control of something that feels like essentially our baby,” Solomon said. “Because, between the three of us, there has been a lot of protocol changes, a lot of procedure changes, a lot of thinking and rethinking real hard how we do things.”
Because of these changes, Solomon said that the person replacing her will have to be flexible and adapt quickly.
“That is going to leave kind of a burden on whoever comes next because they’re going to have to make sure that [SGA] is stabilized,” she said. “You really want to make sure you are electing people who already know the territory and are also capable of growing and learning more.”
Makielski, the current class of 2018 president running for the executive president, said that filling Solomon’s shoes as the elected president will be difficult.
“[Solomon] had an unprecedented amount of time as president, and she's done an incredible job,” she said. “I think the most important thing for transition is communication."
Write in updates:
Allison Maclean for class of 2019 vice president.
Kenzy Peach for class of 2018 president.
Sydney Rae Chin for class of 2019 senator.