Three of the Student Government Association’s six open senate positions — Class of 2017 senator, Class of 2014 senator and senator-at-large — were filled at the Feb. 17 meeting.
Since the beginning of the semester, the SGA has had seven senator resignations, two of which came from senators who are currently studying abroad.
One of the Class of 2017 seats opened after the SGA executive board relieved sophomore Drew Olkowski of his position Feb. 7. Olkowski recently decided to apply incoming credits toward his degree to transition into the Class of 2016, and according to the SGA constitution, could no longer serve for the Class of 2017. Olkowski said he decided to change classes for internship opportunities and for economic reasons.
In response to Olkowski’s dismissal, senior Gillian DeRario resigned from her position as senator-at-large and ran for Class of 2014 senator. The Class of 2014 position has been open since Marissa Osowsky ’13 resigned last semester after graduating in December. DeRario said she resigned from her original position so Olkowski could have the opportunity to secure a new seat in the SGA as senator-at-large.
“Drew has earned his place in this organization,” DeRario said during the discussion period for the senator-at-large candidates. “I think it would be a really big detriment to the organization if we lose him.”
At the beginning of each fall semester, the student body elects its representatives, which include two senators for each class, one senator for each school, five senators-at-large, a transfer student senator, a varsity athlete senator, a club sports senator, an international student senator, an off-campus senator and a graduate student liaison.
When these positions remain unfilled after elections or become open during the semester, the senate, rather than the student body, votes on new candidates during the weekly public meetings to fill the openings. Candidates have two minutes to present why they are interested, followed by a Q-and-A session. Then, they are asked to leave the room while the senate discusses and votes.
DeRario was the only candidate who ran for the open Class of 2014 position, and she was the first candidate to be voted on at the meeting.
For the first time in the 2013–14 academic year, multiple students appeared at the meeting to compete for one position. Three freshmen contested for the Class of 2017 seat: Kaitlin Logsdon, Alexander McKeen and Nicole Ang. Logsdon, who ran unsuccessfully for the position during Fall 2013 elections, won the vote.
Following Logsdon’s successful bid, McKeen and Ang both vied for Olkowski’s intended position as senator-at-large. Olkowski won the vote.
Despite his experience in the SGA as former Class of 2017 senator, Olkowski said he was not confident that he would win going into the meeting.
“I think that the other people running were just as qualified as I was,” Olkowski said.
Olkowski said he still plans to focus on a freshman constituency in his new position while tackling campus-wide issues. He also will continue working on an initiative he already began in his previous position, namely pushing for an e-cigarette policy at Ithaca College. Additionally, Olkowski wants to amend the SGA constitution so senators who encounter a situation similar to his will be allowed to finish out their terms in the position they were voted into, he said.
Logsdon, who served on her high school’s board of education, said during her two-minute presentation she was interested in tackling the confusion surrounding the new Integrative Core Curriculum that launched with the Class of 2017.
During the discussion session about the Class of 2017 candidates, sophomore Dominick Recckio, vice president of communications, said Logsdon was a strong option because she remained involved in the SGA even after losing her bid for the Fall 2013 elections. Logsdon, a communications management and design major, has served on Recckio’s communications committee since last semester’s elections.
Logsdon said by the end of the semester, she hopes to create a better understanding of what the ICC is and change how it’s presented to incoming freshmen at orientation so there is more clarity.
“If there’s one thing you hear consistently across campus from the Class of 2017, it’s complaints about the Integrative Core Curriculum,” Logsdon said. “It just seems like right now there’s a wall between administration and students and what ICC means.”
The three positions that remain unfilled in the SGA are music school senator, off-campus senator and graduate student liaison. The music school and off-campus senator positions are open because of resignations from freshman Claire Noonen and senior Austin Douillard, respectively. The graduate student liaison has been left unfilled since fall elections.