Plattsburgh State Student Association President Kevin Clayton gave his State of the SA speech Monday, which summed up where the SA has gone from January to now and where they have left to go.
Clayton attended the SUNY Student Assembly, where student governments from other SUNY schools go to network with each other and learn more about what they do. Since then, Clayton said outreach remains a large focus for the SA, as some colleges reach out at levels beyond their own campus.
“They are out there, working with one another and lobbying on the SUNY level, the state level, the federal level and even the international level. There were resolutions supporting initiatives of the United Nations,” he said. “It’s really amazing to see all those groups coming together.”
He said the matter of diversity on campus is also a “big challenge going forward.”
In an interview that took place after his speech, Clayton said that he had spoken to another unspecified SUNY campus, which had a satirical publication that published “material” that offended the student body. He said this campus’ student government contacted the staff of this publication, and they tried to impose demands on them, which they couldn’t do, because that publication is independent.
“I took that as support that we did the right thing, researching the relationship … respecting the boundaries, not trying to force things,” Clayton said. “We at least have a working relationship and have maintained that, and I’m relieved by that.”
He said he considers the newly passed Constitution to be a major achievement of his administration. The 54th legislation, which will be under the direction of SA President-elect Michael Kimmer, will be under the direction of the current Constitution. In that time, that legislation will formally introduce bylaws to the Constitution, and hold an election, where the student body will vote on who will take positions outlined under that Constitution. The Constitution will be in effect Jan. 1, 2017.
“That Constitution is going to be incredibly valuable,” Clayton said. “It gives us more flexibility to address changing student needs, more flexibility with how we fill vacancies, which has really driven down voter turnout.”
Speaker of the Senate Veronica Marchello said the SA is at a very hopeful point, but they are not done yet. She said the next two weeks will be “business as usual,” while also preparing the next legislation for its duties within the SA.
“We do have two executive and two Senate meetings left, so clubs will be coming, asking for money, asking to become permanent clubs,” Marchello said. “The student body at large isn’t as sensitive about transitions as we are, so we still have to pay attention to what they want.”
Marchello said she is savoring the time she has left as speaker.
“I’m still not totally coming to terms with the fact that it’s over,” she said. “I’m very hopeful about the people that are coming, they seem to be very, very excited, so that makes me very excited for them.”
Kimmer said Clayton is an “eloquent speaker” and that he did a good job of outlining what the SA has accomplished thus far.
“He talked about some things we need to do to move forward,” Kimmer said, such as the transition from the old Constitution to the new Constitution, in addition to Kimmer’s own goals for the upcoming year.
“He (Clayton) had a positive outlook on the future of the SA, and it appears that the state of the SA is strong.”
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