SGO Executive Board elections, originally scheduled to begin on April 9, were delayed to April 11. On Tuesday April 9, Student Outreach Chair Ash Shukla ’22 sent an email to the student body informing that the scheduled SGO Town Hall would be cancelled, and that the Executive Board elections would be postponed. The elections were moved to April 11.
Elections were postponed due to shake-ups within SGO leadership.
“Our president, who was intending to run the elections, had to take a leave of absence,” wrote current Chair of Visual & Performing Arts Will Bein ’21 in an email to The Phoenix. “We had to postpone the town hall to deal with the process of finding a new election keeper.”
The election concluded on April 13. Tyler White ’22, Marios Vafiadis ’22, Katie Reeves ’22, TJ Thomas ’20, and Murtaza Ukani ’22 joined the Executive Board as chairs of Academic Affairs, Visual & Performing Arts, Student Life, Student Organizations, and Diversity, respectively.
“This year’s Executive Board election was postponed because the president, who was running the elections, minimized his role in SGO and asked for another member to take over midway through,” wrote Vice President and President Elect Katherine Capossela ’21 in an email to the Phoenix. “Finding a suitable substitute — a current member of SGO that wasn’t running in next year’s election — was a challenge, but our Arts Chair Will Bein ’21 stepped up to the plate.”
The hastened nature of the election left SGO with little time to publicize the election, which according to Capossela led to to less engagement with the election Google survey and decreased student interest in running for SGO positions.
“All of the election confusion set us significantly behind schedule, so SGO was simply rushing to put the election together without pausing to consider the importance of posting signs or Facebook campaigns to boost voter turnout,” wrote Capossela.
Capossela believes that low student interest in the elections is an issue that must be addressed.
“I think the biggest reoccurring issue SGO faces is low morale around the election process. As with all campus-wide surveys, the student response rate to elections is often low. This is especially concerning because we are student representatives, and to truly be representative of the student body, we must be selected by a larger portion of our community,” wrote Capossela. “I believe such low voter turnout and number of candidates is the result of a failed advertising campaign on SGO’s part.”
Chair of Appointments Dawson Epstein ’21 took a more positive view of the concluded elections. He believes that making Executive Board elections before Senate elections would allow losing Executive Board candidates to run for Senate positions.
“I appreciated that executive board elections were held before senate elections, allowing those who were not elected to the executive board to run for a senator position. Also, elections being held relatively early this year will allow for a smooth transition for new members,” he wrote in an email to The Phoenix.
According to Capossela, there has been greater student participation in the past, especially during elections that were more well-publicized.
“We launched a significantly more visible campaign earlier in the semester to fill empty positions, which was quite successful. (For example, eight people applied for the Environmental Chair position in the winter, whereas none applied this election cycle.),” wrote Capossela.
Capossela hopes to get more students involved in the upcoming senate election. She ended her email on an optimistic note.
“We have great plans to up the spirit around SGO elections for these positions, so stay tuned!”