On March 28, Student Association (SA) Vice President of Academic Affairs and Governance Jordan Taylor sent an email to the student body about SA elections via Vice President of Student Affairs Ray Schwarz.
In the email, Taylor said running in the elections “is a chance for students who want to get more involved on campus to run for Student Association Senate or Executive Board positions.”
Elections are important because it gives the students a say. The people you elect will ultimately determine where the money students pay is going, so why not learn about what is currently going on with SA and what platforms people are running on?
We at The New Paltz Oracle believe that any student who runs for an SA Senate or E-board position should be well informed on what issues SA has been grappling with in recent semesters, and they should have a plan for what initiatives he or she wants implemented for the future. If elected, these students should be accessible to the student body, as well as provide factual information that goes into their decision-making, not personal bias.
Students who are thinking about running for a position, please don’t do so because you want something that will enhance your résumé. Instead, run because you want to make a positive impact on campus. These positions are positions of importance, and should be treated as such. There are many committees that are a part of SA that cater to various topics of people’s interest — find one that interests you and help make a difference on campus.
To the current SA, from now until elections the student body needs to know as much information as possible. If the student activity fee is raised, students need to know exactly what that money will help fund. They need to know everything that you are trying to accomplish for the upcoming school year. Overall, they need to just be informed. You were selected to be in your respective positions because your peers believed in you.
The discussions of where the new money would go if the Student Activity Fee receives enough votes to be raised has not been clear. It is unacceptable for SA to lack transparency by calling illegal executive sessions. They were put in these positions by the student body, so their priority needs to be providing the student body with clear and accurate information.
Part of the activity fee funds clubs and organizations, so students have the right to know where exactly the money is going because of their commitments, and more importantly, because they pay the fee. We hope that SA can send out charts of where exactly the money goes with the current the budget and where the new money would go if the fee receives enough votes to be increased.
We have concerns about members of SA having personal agendas. Twice in the past year individual members have called illegal executive sessions, which is unethical. While some on both E-board and Senate have addressed the issue individually, everyone on Senate needs to understand and respect these rules. Transparency works both ways. The weekly senate meetings are public forums. The student body has the right to know what exactly goes on, so these illegal private meetings should not be taking place anymore.
For the future we hope that SA can put together a monthly newsletter similar to President Donald Christian’s monthly faculty reports. This will allow the student body to know what exactly SA has been working on and will look to work on for the future. This is important because it will help ensure that SA and the students are on the same page.
To the student body, you are tasked with choosing the future leaders of the school’s SA.
It is essential for you to do your research about what SA’s plans are. If you’re confused about something, ask questions. If you’re concerned about what is going on, tell SA how you feel. SA is a democratic government. Everyone is allowed to express what’s on their mind. So please, students, don’t just be an innocent bystander. Instead, help make a positive impact on campus.
Now, as always, is a crucial time for students to know what exactly SA’s plans are. If students don’t know what’s going on with SA currently and what their plans are for the future, get informed.