Friday, June 14, 2024

SA fills long-empty position

By Aleksandra Sidorova

The Student Association Senate approved three people to various positions within the Student Association, including the long-empty position of Board of Elections Chairperson when it met Wednesday, Nov. 9. 

The SA also approved a student as a member of the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee and granted the club House of Divinity provisional status. The latter was not originally on the meeting agenda, but was instead suggested to be added at the start of the meeting.

The first person to be approved was Myles Maldonado-McCabe, a first-year who said he is “super interested” in involving himself in the community “and even more in government.” Maldonado-McCabe spoke of his experience participating in student government in high school. He was unanimously approved and subsequently sworn into his role as senator of campus health and safety. After taking his oath, Maldonado-McCabe took his seat among the other senators and shook the hands of two senators sitting to each side of him.

Next to be approved was Aidan Masten to the position of student representative for the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee. Professor Michelle Ouellette representing the committee at the Senate meeting said the committee aims to deliver high-quality instruction in writing. Part of the committee’s work is the setting of writing education standards to be met across the college. The committee is also responsible for the advanced writing requirement needed to complete a degree program. Ouellette said Masten is an English student and a good writer, and thus a fitting candidate for the committee.

The position was unanimously approved. According to SA Adviser Stephen Matthews and Vice President of the SUNY Student Assembly Michael Casey, all members of committees within the college have to be approved by the Student Association. However, it is uncommon for these processes to occur at the Senate meetings.

Following the approval of Maldonado-McCabe and Masten was the approval of Sebastian Alexandre as photographer and videographer for the SA. In this position, Alexandre would help with filming government processes and SA events. Alexandre said his work for the SA would help him further build his portfolio, but his work has already won some awards and recognition.

Senator William Donlon asked to see examples of Alexandre’s work, which he was unable to show at the meeting. 

In response, newly-appointed Senator Maldonado-McCabe said the awards Alexandre mentioned are a mark of the quality of his work. Senator Dineshreddy Channapareddy stepped in saying Alexandre was selected as the best of three people interviewed for the position. Channapareddy said he believed Alexandre had already “shown everything he needs to.”

Senator Aissatou Lo confirmed this.

“He’s not just coming up here without going through the processes,” Lo said.

Alexandre was unanimously approved as photographer and videographer for the SA.

The last position the SA filled that night was the Board of Elections chairperson, which had been empty since the semester started. The position went to Mary Stockman.

Stockman is a junior double majoring in criminal justice and law and justice, areas related to political science. She spoke of her experience as former senator of campus health and safety and said she personally knew the people who held the Board of Elections chairperson position before her. Stockman also referenced the initial failure of the SA fee referendum, emphasizing the importance of promoting elections and educating student voters.

SA Vice President Saran Kaba asked Stockman how she would handle conflict of interest in regards to SA elections. Stockman admitted she is friends with some current SA members, but said her duties as Board of Elections chairperson would come before her friendships.

Stockman said she would reinstate the use of photos for election ballots because she personally relies on seeing a person’s face to remember their name, as do a number of students on campus. The removal of candidate pictures from election ballots was the previous Board of Election chair’s “personal decision,” Stockman said. Kaba said the lack of photos promoted informed voting. Senator Nilay Vaidya thought the discussion of the specific policy was unnecessary for the approval of Stockman to the Board of Elections chairperson position. 

A vote followed, and Stockman was unanimously approved.

Lastly, the modeling club House of Divinity requested approval for provisional status. The two representatives at the meeting — President Justice Hall and Vice President Lauren Sealy — said the club would teach students interested in modeling the skills for runway, ballroom, hand and face modeling. Training would occur weekly based on models’ schedules.

The club would also provide student models opportunities to model and do modeling work, in Plattsburgh and beyond, including other SUNY schools. Hall said no one would be turned down. Furthermore, the club will work to bring out every member’s own beauty without conforming to societal beauty standards. 

The club plans to hold its student models accountable through signing contracts for their participation in model shows, but will always prioritize academics over modeling. The club will offer some academic support including grade check-ins and study sessions.

House of Divinity was unanimously approved for provisional status, and will hold its first meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Conference Room at Angell College Center.

Many senators’ reports talked about the social justice teach-in in honor of Black Solidarity Day Nov. 7. Channapareddy said he heard criticism regarding the overlapping events of the day, which gave students “a hard time attending the events they wanted.”

Senator Munashe Chikukwa said professors were receptive to the events of Black Solidarity Day, and many gave the day off. Chikukwa said he was “impressed with the attendance.” Matthews said the celebrations of Black Solidarity Day at other SUNY schools were not as “successful.”

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