Tuesday, April 16, 2024

SA prepares for elections

Shunya Okazaki, whom the Student Association Senate approved as the chair of elections, announces updates to the SA’s elections policy.

 

By Aleksandra Sidorova

The Student Association Senate approved a new chair of elections at its meeting March 12 in preparation for the SA fee referendum and elections for the 62nd legislation in April.

The SA Senate unanimously approved Shunya Okazaki, a junior computer security major who has served on the Board of Elections for more than a year. The Senate also approved Anshika Sharma and Krisha Borda as Board of Elections members. Sharma and Borda fulfilled all membership requirements and received Okazaki’s endorsement.

Okazaki said he is “confident” that the SA fee will pass, and his team will work to promote both the SA fee referendum and entice people to run for general elections to be held April 25.

Every two years, the student body votes on whether the SA should keep the SA fee mandatory. The SA fee supports all SA activities and initiatives, including the shuttle, campus events, club funding and additional allocations, extended library hours for midterms and finals. 

In the previous vote in April 2022, the student body voted down the fee due to a lack of promotion and awareness campaigns. The SA held a revote with permission from SUNY, but may not be able to host another if the vote fails this year.

Okazaki also presented the most recent version of the SA’s election policy, which adjusts and enforces the number of signatures students need to gather from their peers in order to run for SA as well as establishes deadlines for this election cycle.

In order to run for Executive Council positions, such as president, vice president and coordinators, students need to gather 75 signatures from their peers. To run for Senate, students need 15 signatures. Candidates can drop out of the race up to two days before elections. 

Election packets will be available from April 1 and must be turned in by noon April 15.

In other business, the Senate unanimously approved $1,200 for the club Learning and Experiencing God, known as LEGO. The club is hosting its annual Easter celebration with performers, including a short play, the Gospel Choir and guest speakers. 

LEGO requested additional allocations in order to use its budget to fund celebrations of other Christian holidays spanning March through May, such as Good Friday and the end of the 40-day fasting period of Lent.

The Senate also unanimously approved $860 for Black Onyx: the Black Student Union to host its ninth annual Mr. and Mrs. BSU pageant, with Senator Naomi Adebayo abstaining from the vote as a Black Onyx member. Other costs associated with the event are covered by the club’s budget and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Adebayo commented on the recent trend of clubs looking for other sources of funding in her report.

“Some of the clubs haven’t really been feeling supported on campus,” Adebayo said. “They feel like they can’t even rely on SA anymore — that’s why a lot of them are trying to get money from other departments like DEI. Especially because the (SA fee) referendum is coming up, we want clubs to be able to share what we’re trying to push out to the public, work with them and make them our allies.”

 

Vote in the SA general election and the SA fee referendum through the link in your email, which will be sent at 8 a.m. April 25.

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