Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

SGA candidates call for meal plan and academic reform at speech night


Student Government Association candidates vowed to continue working on current initiatives at speech night Monday, as many stated they want to push harder for meal plan and academic reform at the college.

About 30 people filled a room in the Walker Building as SGA hopefuls presented their platforms for Fall 2012. Many called for the continuation of the dining hall initiative the government passed this year, which pushed for increased sanitation efforts in the college’s dining facilities, and to add more board bucks to the meal plan.

Caitlin Higgins, the current SGA vice president, and Tau Zaman, SGA president, both mentioned disappointment with the response the SGA received from the Board of Trustees after recommending the college consider a tuition freeze that would place a hold on the price of Emerson for each class. Both Higgins and Zaman are running for the positions they currently hold unopposed.

“I’m mad at the Board of Trustees,” said Higgins, a junior broadcast journalism major. “I would like the SGA to push them harder, to stand up to the board and tell them they don’t know our student body and what we want. There is a big difference in what overall leaders see in what the school should become and what students think.”

Zaman echoed Higgins’ concerns, saying he wants to continue working on Emerson’s affordability and to create greater communication regarding the allocation of college funds between the administration and the students.

“It blows my mind that all the things the college spends ridiculous amounts of money on are things the student body hasn’t asked for,” the junior political communication major said, referring to the $80 million price tag of the Emerson Los Angeles campus center.

Of the 16 candidates, four were not present to give speeches. Jenna McPadden, presidential candidate for the class of 2013, and Tobey Zaretsky, candidate for class of 2013 senator, were not present nor did they have a proxy.

Higgins served as a proxy for Katie Ruggerio, the communication sciences and disorders senatorial candidate.

Nick de la Canal, class of 2015 presidential hopeful provided a video in his absence. In the video, de la Canal encouraged voters to unite the class of 2015 as he appeared at various locations on campus.

De la Canal’s opponent, Lauren Mandel, said her experience as treasurer of her class this semester allowed her to build strong relationships with students and faculty and will help her fill the role of president, if elected.

“I want to convey your ideas to the school,” she said. “I believe my organizational skills will allow me to do the job professionally.”

The freshman class presidential position, as well as the visual, media, arts senatorial position are the only two spots with more than one candidate, although any student can win with a majority of write-in ballots.

Alex Clarke, a sophomore who currently serves as VMA senator, said he would like to continue in the role next year and workas a student leader for the department by addressing curriculum changes and creating a series of equipment safety videos.

His opponent, freshman write-in candidate Laura Martin, said she would like to help students improve connections with faculty by fostering heightened access to instructors. She said she also wants to increase the amount of on-campus events in her department.

Christine Hayes, candidate for journalism senator, was the only other write-in candidate that gave a speech. Hayes served on SGA as class of 2014 senator but resigned from the position in the fall for health reasons. She said one of her goals for next year will be to create a newsletter for the department.

“When it comes to your major courses, it’s important to know what you are getting into with each course,” the sophomore said.

Zaman was the last candidate to speak, and ended by expressing his enjoyment of working with the SGA, but acknowledged that he is often criticized for his decisions.

“I fight the good fight,” Zaman said.  

SGA elections begin at midnight tonight and end at 11:59 April 4. Students can vote at vote.emerson.edu. 


Jackie Tempera, Frankie Olito, and Stephanie Bradbury, Beacon Staff, contributed to this report.

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