By Aleksandra Sidorova
The Student Association is holding its election for its 60th legislation Tuesday, April 19. Two students — Robert Henn and Taiba Azeem — are running for president, and the two candidates for vice president are Mary Stockman and Saran Kaba.
As he is not running this election, current SA President Ahmed Metwaly shared advice for the next president of the SA.
“Take advice of the people around you. Learn to delegate. Learn when to say no, and do your best not to overstress yourself,” Metwaly said.
Azeem is a sophomore double majoring in sociology and psychology. She was born in India, but has lived in eight countries over the course of her life. Azeem describes herself as a “staunch feminist,” and is the only woman running for president of the SA.
“I do not stand when people discriminate others on the basis of anything,” Azeem said. “That’s the one thing I stand for — I want to hear everyone at the table. Everyone.”
Azeem has been part of the SA her whole college career, and feels passionately about student involvement in the SA. The focus of her campaign is on adequately representing the student body in the SA and diversifying the board to include more women and new faces.
“I will be sure that I succeeded as president if, after a year, when elections come around, I’ll see people whose names I don’t know on the candidates list,” Azeem said.
Azeem’s goals for the campus focus on increasing student involvement, as the campus only has 60 clubs despite boasting over 100 online. Her other goals include implementing gender-neutral bathrooms, ensuring accessibility for students with physical disabilities, and supporting diversity on campus.
“Rather than encouraging students to just vote for me, I encourage them to vote, period, because this is their right,” Azeem said. “You are not choosing an Association that you deserve if you don’t vote.”
Henn is a sophomore majoring in public relations from Long Island, New York. He said he is a “big fan” of doing things that push him out of his comfort zone.
The slogan of Henn’s campaign is “Becoming Cardinal Stronger,” with goals to improve the states of student involvement, accessibility for people with disabilities and resources for student mental health. He also aims to strengthen school spirit.
“It’s taking things that are already really good about Plattsburgh and just heightening them even more. I feel like this campus has so much to offer to its students and there’s so many good things about it, but they don’t get recognized as much as they should,” Henn said. “I basically want campus to feel like everyone’s home away from home.”
Henn’s goals for the SA are to make it appear more “approachable” to the student body and extend its outreach. Henn was a member of the SA in his freshman year, but took a break due to experiencing a “rough patch” in his mental health.
“The main reason I’m also running is to show students that just because you get knocked down, doesn’t mean you have to stay down,” Henn said. “There’s power in failure. There’s power in falling down, and there’s even more power in getting back up again.”
Stockman is a sophomore double majoring in criminal justice and law and justice, from Buffalo, New York. She is currently senator for campus safety and health for the SA, club president of Rotaract and a community advocate (CA) at Mason Hall.
If elected as vice president, Stockman will focus on unifying and representing the student body, as well as connecting it with the SA. She aims to make information about the SA’s location and the senators’ office hours more public and create more opportunities for the SA to listen to student feedback.
“We say we listen to the student body right now, but I don’t really know if we do,” Stockman said. “We do, but not to the full potential that we could.”
Stockman will also work to create programming that involves more students in campus life to ensure “people like being on campus,” including events that take students off campus. Additional concerns are improving the conditions of on-campus quarantine and uniting campus departments to cohesively work together.
“I am willing to take the time to listen to anybody who has something to say. I want to fight for the student body in any way possible,” Stockman said. “Obviously, I have things I think should be changed, but there are people who have other opinions on what should be changed, and I want to hear those opinions and work to make what everybody wants how campus should be.”
Kaba is a senior graduating next year and majoring in communication sciences and disorders. She is from the Bronx, New York. Kaba calls herself a reliable, attentive and initiative candidate for vice president of the SA.
“I want people to vote for me because they’re confident in me,” Kaba said. “Any issue they have, any concern — I’ll take initiative to that and actually get to a solution to the best of my abilities.”
Kaba’s goal is to become someone students can rely on to represent underrepresented students. She will pay special attention to fighting microaggressions on campus from students and professors alike, as well as healing from their effects.
Another priority in Kaba’s campaign is continuing to move in the direction the SA is currently going in to support student clubs and organizations, sports on campus and student services.
Kaba also hopes to position the SA as an organization that is friendly and open to student feedback. She will be hosting gatherings that allow students to speak out about the problems they experience on campus.
“If I am selected to be vice president, I want people to feel comfortable to come to me if they have an issue, and I will definitely go and relay that to my president, and we can try to find a solution where we can go to higher-ups or supervisors,” Kaba said. “I want people to feel that they are heard. They are heard, and action is being taken.”