Students re-elect Solomon as SGA president, approve constitutional changes

by Katherine Burns / Beacon Staff • March 30, 2015

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Emily Solomon was re-elected as SGA president.
Emily Solomon was re-elected as SGA president.

Updated April 2

Emily Solomon was re-elected as the Student Government Association president in last week’s vote with 43 percent of the tally. Students also chose sophomore Gabriela Kula as the new vice president and approved a compound amendment to the SGA constitution.

Solomon, a sophomore visual and media arts major, was running against sophomore Dan Goldberg and junior Alan Vilimaitis. She received 327 votes of the 765 cast in the presidential election. Polls were open from March 25 to 26.

Solomon said she plans to continue this year's initiatives—like working to improve Emerson’s academic policies and the dining hall—and also examine the college’s sexual assault prevention and response resources.

The dining hall initiative intends to make more options available for students with food allergies and for vegetarian and vegan students, she said. The academic initiative focuses on the course selection and evaluation process for students across different majors.

“I don’t think anything’s ever really finished. There’s always somewhere else to go with something,” Solomon said. “The agenda items we have right now will always be works in progress.”

Goldberg, a visual and media arts major, is currently the class of 2017 president and said he does not plan on continuing working in SGA next year. Goldberg said his main platform focused on unifying the student body, and he hopes to continue working toward that idea with Solomon outside SGA.

Alan Vilimaitis, a political communication major, said he was grateful for the experience of campaigning, during which he said he printed about 10,000 fliers and met dozens of students. 

“The position is for two semesters, but friendship is for a lifetime,” Vilimaitis said.

The amendment to the SGA constitution, which had a 953-word description on the ballot, included: changing all gender-specific pronouns to the third-person plural, “they”; revising the preamble and purpose clause; and removing a requirement that 10 percent of the student body vote on changes to the constitution.

About 18 percent of students, or 707 total, voted on the amendment, and 83 percent supported the changes.

 

Jasmine Reyes, the current journalism senator, said she appreciates the rule change, as it makes the voting process matter more for students.

“Eliminating the 10 percent rule gives a voice to those students who actually do care and do vote,” said Reyes, a junior. “Because when there wasn’t exactly 10 percent of the student population voting, it’s like, ‘Well you voted, and you cared, but now your vote doesn’t matter.’”

But former class of 2015 president Nicholas de la Canal said he did not believe this constitutional change to be necessary. 

“Getting 10 percent of the vote is not a hard thing to do. It’s definitely possible. Getting rid of the requirement just seems lazy to me,” said the journalism major. “They won’t have to campaign for constitutional changes, and I think that things that would not have passed before will pass.”

Reyes said the rule doesn’t mean SGA members don’t want high voter turnouts, but she understands that they may not get the same turnout for other elections. 

“Us taking away the needing of 10 percent of the student vote isn’t saying that we don’t care about getting 10 percent of the student body to vote,” Reyes said. “We still care. We just also are trying to pick our battles.”

Kula, a journalism major, was selected as vice president, winning by 20 votes against junior writing, literature, and publishing major Michael Moccio. She received 227 votes.

Moccio was elected as a write-in candidate for writing, literature, and publishing senator, which is the position he held this year. Moccio said he plans on helping Kula with the Organization Recognition and Review Board, which was at the center of his vice presidential platform. He also said he intends to continue working on the academic initiative.

“Whenever you work with faculty, it’s always a challenge to voice your concerns, and I think [Kula] will be relentless in a great way,” Moccio said. 

Kula said she is looking forward to continuing to work with Moccio and is glad that he will still be on SGA. She said plans to focus on the Office of Housing and Residence Life, particularly the renovations to the Little Building. 

“I think it’s important that students get what they want because that’s where they’re going to be living,” Kula said. “That’s definitely my number one priority going in.”

Sophomore John Depa ran uncontested for, and was elected as, SGA treasurer.

Rebekah Brinkerhoff, a junior performing arts major and the current performing arts senator, won the position of class of 2016 president as a write-in candidate, with marketing communication major Jillian Naimo as her vice president. Samantha Silver was elected as the class secretary, and Victoria Loubert as the class senator.

Michael O’Connor, a sophomore visual and media arts major, will be replacing Goldberg as class of 2017 president in the fall. In an email to the Beacon, he said he hoped to host more inclusive events to encourage unity and collaboration among students. 

Samuel Chase was re-elected as class of 2018 president with 88 votes, and said he is excited to continue the work he started this year. He defeated Elias Scangas, who received 49 votes. Chase will continue working with 2018 Senator Arianna Conte, who was also re-elected.

 

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the total number of students who voted on the constitutional amendment. It was 707, not 585, or about 18 percent of all students, not 15 percent.