PA senator challenges Fisher for president

by Beacon Staff • March 25, 2009

Sitting SGA president Scott Fisher will face another challenge for his position this year, this time from performing arts senator Nick Vargas, who is in the unprecedented position of running against a two-term president. Fisher, a junior, became the youngest president after being elected in his freshman year.

Vargas, a junior theater education major, said in a phone interview that he is running because he believes the college will be looking for increased student input as it continues to expand. He stressed that his involvement on campus had engendered strong relationships with both students and the administration.

"[Emerson deserves] someone who is able to talk to the administration in a way that gets students' thoughts across clearly," Vargas said. "The SGA and the student body needs a leader that does things for the students and doesn't take them as his own accomplishments."

Vargas' candidacy became official on March 25, when all candidates were approved for the upcoming SGA elections, to be held on April 7 and 8. Following SGA vice-president Maude Okrah's cancellation of all upcoming Senate meetings more than a month ago, Vargas, the senate's vice president, has been presiding over unofficial senate meetings.

Fisher, a junior political communications major, has helmed SGA since he was elected to the position of executive president at the end of his freshman year. He said he was running again because he had witnessed inspiring successes during his SGA tenure, and cares deeply about the issues he is working on.

"I think that the accomplishments I've been able to achieve this year have defied almost what we expect from a student government," Fisher said in an interview.

So far this year, Fisher has helped push a "medical amnesty" policy that protects dangerously drunk students from the harshest punishments in the student handbook if they're seeking medical attention. He has also taken up the issues of gender-neutral housing, which the SGA passed, and tuition affordability.

"It's because of the dedication of other students who've helped me in these campaigns," he said. "I think my record shows that I am a proven advocate for them."

Jacob Barela, a junior political communications major and Morgan St. John, a sophomore communication studies major, are vying for the position of executive vice president. Barela is currently External Programs Commissioner, and St. John is Greek Life Commissioner.

SGA Executive Treasurer Jenn Barry will be running for reelection unopposed.

"Now that I have a whole semester under my belt, I feel like I'll be able to do an even better job next year," Barry said in an interview. She cited her opposition to a proposed increase of the Student Activities Fee, also known as the "Ten Percent Rule."

The candidates for class of 2010 president are Timothy VanWart and Alissa Blechner. Jamie Reich is running unopposed for 2010 vice-president, Katy Boungard for treasurer, and Jack Placidi for secretary. Samantha Coulson and Ian Grady are vying for the position of 2010 senator, according to a list provided by SGA Elections Commissioner Danielle Iacovelli.

Brittany Perro and Kimberly Richards are competing for the class of 2011 presidency. Corey Jane Cardoso is running for 2011 vice-president, Emily Geaman for secretary.

Jeffrey Coons and Michael Callahan are competing for class of 2012 senator, and Martika Mercer is running for 2012 secretary. According to Iacovelli, all positions for which no candidates are approved to run may be filled by write-in campaigns.

Many of the candidates for departmental senator positions are running unopposed. These include Jennifer Stanis, running for the Communications Disorders Senator spot, Rosalind Fraser for Communication Studies Senator, Stefany Tomas for Journalism Senator, and Kaitlin Neagle for Performing Arts Senator. Contested departmental races include Marketing Senator, with Tyler Wilson and John Keane running; Christopher Maher and Matthew Dairon for Visual and Media Arts Senator; and Samuel Tang and Doug Paul Case for Writing, Literature and Publishing Senator.