A look at the candidates in SGA’s spring elections

A+Joint+Session+meeting+at+the+beginning+of+the+2019-20+academic+year.+

Photo: The Berkeley Beacon Archives

A Joint Session meeting at the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year.

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

The Student Government Association’s spring elections—where each position in the organization is up for grabs—features just 13 candidates vying for seats in SGA, which controls more than a million dollars in student funds. 

No candidates are currently on the ballot for executive vice president, and the majority of the positions in SGA’s three legislative bodies—the academic senate, student experience senate, and financial equity committee—are also empty tickets. 

Only two races in this year’s elections are contested: executive treasurer, and class of 2023 vice president. This semester’s treasurer race is the first since Abigail Semple claimed the position in spring 2019 after the two candidates who finished ahead of her turned down the role. 

Executive Board: 

jehan ayesha binti heru wirasto, the organization’s current executive vice president, is running unopposed for SGA’s top leadership position. 

This cycle’s elections mark ayesha-wirasto’s second attempt at clinching the presidency, which is currently occupied by Lindsay Debrosse, who ran on a ticket with ayesha-wirasto. ayesha-wirasto was defeated by Claire Rodenbush, who later ceded the position to Debrosse. 

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wirasto could not be reached for comment on this article. 

IDIP Senator Pranit Chand is running a write-in campaign for Executive Vice President. Chand has served as the IDIP senator since Sept. 2020, after transferring to Emerson when the college merged with nearby Marlboro College. 

Chand initially was set to run for a third term as IDIP senator, however, during ayesha-wirsato’s Instagram takeover of the SGA account, they announced Chand would be running as their vice president. 

Chand could not be reached for comment on this article. 

On the ticket for Executive Treasurer, current Executive President Lindsay Debrosse will run against 2022 Financial Equity Senator Azat Jumadurdyyev.

Academic Senate: 

Elena Plousadis, a junior communication sciences and disorders major, is running for her first term as CSD senator. The CSD senator seat has remained vacant since Jake Apitz decided not to run for re-election last fall. 

Plousadis said in an interview with The Beacon that upon hearing about Apitz’s departure, she was immediately intrigued and reached out to Apitz to learn more about the role. 

“I am really passionate about the major and after being in it for a whole year and like seeing what there is to see, I definitely think that I would be a good advocate for it,” Plousadis said.“We have a lot to work on and move forward in our program.”

With her background as Vice President of the National Student Hearing and Speech Association, Plousadis said she feels prepared for the role and hopes to create more awareness of the major—the smallest at the college—and better the program. 

“A huge thing is a lack of presence and representation in our major as a whole, and [the] career field,” she said. “After speaking to a lot of people in my classes, and in this major, they [expressed] that we just have a lack of study abroad and lack of internship opportunities, or they don’t even know what’s out there as far as our major.” 

Plousadis said she is excited to see where the position takes her, saying her passion for the major will guide the goals she sets out to accomplish as senator. 

“It will really bring me closer with my peers and to attend these town hall meetings where I [can] speak up on behalf of everyone,” she said. “I’m just excited to be that person that can make change and my peers can talk to [and say], ‘Hey, we don’t really have such a good internship program’ or ‘We don’t really have the best electives, what can you do about that?’”

Sharon Boateng, a junior journalism major, is running unopposed for a full term as Journalism senator. Boateng was appointed to the position during a Student Assembly meeting on Feb. 12. 

Debrosse spoke highly of Boateng in the student assembly meeting in which she was appointed, saying she would be a great addition to the organization because of her personality. 

“I know Sharon personally, and she’s an incredible person who has this almost untouchable level of ambition and drive to make Emerson the best that it can be,” Debrosse said. “We’re really lucky to really have her on this team.”

Boateng could not be reached for an interview due to scheduling conflicts. 

Neiko Pittman, a first-year visual and media arts major, is running for his second term as VMA senator. 

When he was appointed in March, Pittman said he hoped to make student participation in student organizations and campus activities more accessible. One of his main goals, he said, is to transition the daily announcement bulletins sent to VMA majors through email to a more engaging format to promote students’ interaction with the material. 

“We don’t read our emails, but that email information is really important, and there’s a lot of information in there for people to get involved,” he said.

Pittman said he also wants to design a new platform for students to display their work. 

“As a communication school, we can do a lot better of creating a digital platform of content and actually showing that content and amazing content all of you make and work so hard to create,” Pittman said. 

Pittman could not be reached for comment regarding his reelection campaign.

Class Council:

Philip Aidan Leary is running for his second term as Class Council of 2022 President. Leary, who joined SGA in Dec. of 2018, also ran unopposed in his inaugural run. 

Leary was unable to be reached for comment on this story. 

Sisel Gelman is running unopposed for Class Council of 2023 President, and Helen Frazer and Dara Díaz are running for Vice President, the second of two contested races this cycle. 

Gelman has served as the class president since Fall 2020, when she was nominated during a student assembly meeting. Gelman said she decided to vie to extend her position in order to continue the work she and her other council members started. 

“Next semester we want to keep on building our Instagram,” Gelman said. “That’s the way we mostly communicate with students, the way that if we have any events, or we have any big news… making sure that our page is a place where students can go for information.” 

Gelman said the council also plans to continue their work with professors they began this semester. 

“This semester, what we’ve mostly been working on is justice, equity, and how to improve the student experience,” she said. “We want to do professor spotlight [on] professors of color, queer professors, or any professor really that’s really putting in the work to decolonize the classroom.” 

Frazer is running against newcomer Dara Díaz in her second run for Vice President of the Class Council of 2023. Frazer initially ran for the position in Spring 2020. Díaz is running in her first election for an SGA seat. 

Neither Díaz or Frazer could be reached for comment. 

Sophomore Koby Polaski is running for a second term as Class Council of 2023 treasurer position. Polaski took over the role after serving as a Financial Advisory Board representative due to a promotion offered by Gelman during his freshman year. 

“She basically asked me out of the blue, ‘Would you like a promotion to treasurer,’” Polaski said. “[She said] ‘I really trust you, you’ve been nothing but [the] best right hand man I could ask for. I feel like it’d be a really good position for you.’ And so I jumped at the opportunity.”

Polaski said he is excited to continue his tenure in the role, noting how he is looking forward to continuing working with fellow council members. 

“We collaborate really well with one another,” Polaski said. “I don’t really have the grand plan of junior year, but I think if and when we decide what we want to do, I think it’s going to go off without a hitch.”

Aryan Chaudhari is running for his second term as Class Council of 2024 President. Chaudhari ran against Hannah Flayhan during the Fall 2020 Election cycle, winning 96 percent of the total votes. 

Chaudhari could not be reached for comment.

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