Student Association (SA) elections were held from May 4 to 6 on my.newpaltz.edu, with the recent result calculations revealing who would lead the student body.
Terrell Coakley, this semester’s senate chair, was named SA president.
“Three reasons why I ran: nobody else would, [I’m] one of those people that has the charisma and the personal skills to convey positions and I know what [current SA President Jennifer Sanchez] does and know what mistakes not to make,” said Coakley.
Eve Stern and Youssouf Kouyo were re-elected for their respective positions and newly-elected were Ayanna Thomas vice president of academic affairs and governance and Laneesha Bacchus for vice president of programming.
The candidate-elects expressed their goals for the upcoming 2011-12 school year, with some also explaining what they wanted to improve upon in their respective roles.
Coakley said the transition between Sanchez and himself will be easier because of the close friendship they share. He said he is much more capable of handling the position after a year on the E-board instead of just rushing into it without that experience. Coakley also said Stern and Kouyo, going into their second year in their respective positions, are only going to get better.
Coakley’s goals include increasing transparency and making students realize that they have a voice in what affects them. He also wants to increase student participation on committees.
“We can have a stronger voice if we educate ourselves,” he said.
Stern has been re-elected for the position of executive vice president. Advocating for such projects as gender-neutral bathrooms, she hopes to continue this effort next year as her “main priority” with gender-neutral and sustainable housing. Stern is also working on composting projects in the Student Union (SU) and “greater student relations” with selecting the new police chief. Both are on-going and are to be reviewed and worked out over the summer, according to Stern.
Both Stern and returning Vice President of Finance Kouyo said that a plan was being considered to place a public relations official on the SA Executive Board for next year. Some changes in the constitution would have to be made, according to Stern, but this person would manage Facebook-type events.
Meanwhile, Kouyo’s “main goal” is to change Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) and make it more efficient. He said people always complain about the length of the meetings. He said he also wants to add more diversity to the committee with more “diverse opinions and views.”
In addition, Kouyo said he wants to be more available to students both in and outside the SA office, make sure students get trained on how to fill out paperwork properly before presenting to BFC and try to decrease the number of appeals.
Thomas’ goals include bettering the relationship between faculty and students, improving the academic advising faculty Instant Messenger system and increasing the number of scholarships available to students.
Thomas also wants to introduce Student Evaluation of Advisor (SEA) forms. Unlike Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI) forms, SEAs will be surveys, done by students, which will go back to department chairs where they can evaluate each advisor.
Bacchus said the reason she chose to run for vice president of programming was because she loves the process of planning, executing and coordinating events. She wants students to have fun and to walk away from an event with a feeling that it was one of the best. This semester she wants to plan a comedy show, but to get student input through a five day survey and live conversations in SU 100 to get a feel of what students’ want to see.
Bacchus faced a tight election for her position winning 236 to 224, 12 points away from candidate Mathew John. She said she was “confident that she would win” but thought that it would be between herself and Jesse Solotoff.
For this online election, only 721 out of 7,833 registered students at New Paltz voted, or 9 percent of the total campus population. Thomas called this “completely horrible” and said she wanted to increase student involvement and awareness. She realized not a lot of students attend Senate meetings; therefore, she is planning to invite students and faculty to SU 62/63 next semester to see what SA is involved with and what they are working on.
To better address student involvement, Thomas is also considering, and will be working out the details over the summer, appointing 10 students to committees that address certain topics/issues facing the campus. Appointing these students early so they can get “fairly acquainted” with their positions.
Two positions on the Programming Board have been filled by Jaleesa Dixon and Janeyia Campbell. All 14 positions on the student senate have been filled.