Thursday, May 30, 2024

SA vote fills positions, keeps fee mandatory

Nov. 10 signaled the 53rd legislation’s end, but it told of a new legislation, a new Constitution and the continuity of a mandatory Student Association fee.

The existing 53rd legislation will see its members step down from their positions as they welcome Michael Kimmer as the president of the 54th legislation. Tyler Hargraves, a current senator who also ran for president, said he wanted to give the students a choice of whom to vote for.

“If no one else ran, it would have just been Michael Kimmer, president,” Hargraves said. “I’m happy that I did run, and I gave the students a choice in whom they wanted to be president.”

The approval of the SA fee referendum and the new Constitution comes as a relief to SA President Kevin Clayton, who, after discovering that students voted affirmative on both issues, found it to be a cause for celebration.

“It’s really gratifying to have it pass, it’s really gratifying to know … the year of time we sunk into the Constitution hoping it would pass, it did,” Clayton said. “It’s so, so nice to have that approved.”

Clayton sat in his chair in a more relaxed pose than he had taken in previous weeks, but at the same time, he said that although the hardest part is over, he still has more work to do in the 50 days before the end of the legislation.

Ryan Ferguson, a current senator, will succeed Jessica Rappaport as vice president of finance, a position he said is about making sure clubs have the funding they need, and that funding is managed properly.

“It’s more making sure that gets managed and is handled accurately and properly,” Ferguson said.

“That’s what I know I can do at the minimum.”

Ferguson said candidates who don’t submit photos of themselves tend not to win, due to the way the SA ballot system, Balloteer, is set up.

“My opponent didn’t (include a photo) and had a very brief biography and no platform, so I’m not incredibly surprised, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a bit surprised,” he said.

Vice President of Student Affairs Bryan Hartman said the Student Association fee is vital to this campus.

“The State of New York and your tuition does not fund a lot of the out-of-classroom activities, and the SA does,” Hartman said, adding that art, music and theatre programs are almost entirely funded by the SA. “They make significant donations to the Learning Center to pay for tutors. It goes on and on and on, and that’s incredibly significant, so if the fee was voluntary, a lot of that can’t be guaranteed from year to year, and it would be incredibly difficult for someone like Ryan to say, ‘How am I going to build a budget when I don’t know what revenue I have?’”

Hartman said it is unclear that, without a mandatory fee, whether the SA could afford to employ either of its two paid staff members, who ensure the daily needs of the SA are met.

“It would be very calamitous to this campus, without a doubt,” Hartman said. “The average person on this campus does not have an appreciation for what this SA does for the campus. It’s incredible.”

Clayton said it is “crazy” how fast his time in the SA has gone.

“Most of the stuff I wanted to accomplish in my last couple of weeks was put on hold, between larger questions of diversity on campus and … the election, so I’m excited to have the election dealt with,” Clayton said. “It’s at a really exciting and hopeful place right now.”

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