After half term, SGA president to step down

by Beacon Staff • November 17, 2011

strongXakota Espinoza, Beacon Staff/strong

Student Government Association Vice President Tau Zaman will replace current President Jeffrey Rizzi next semester when Rizzi departs to intern and study acting at the college’s Los Angeles program.

Rizzi said Zaman will become the acting president and the position of vice president must be filled during elections, along with ten other positions. Elections take place between midnight Dec. 5 and 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 6. Packets required to run for an SGA seats were due last night.

Zaman said that despite stepping up to the role of president, he feels that it is his duty to continue the momentum that Rizzi has established, rather than pursue his own agenda.

“It’s not my job to run my own presidency, but to finish off what Jeff started,” the junior political communication major said. “I’m technically picking up for him.”

Article IV, Section I, Paragraph F, Part II of the SGA constitution states, “The Vice-President shall assume the office and duties of the President if the office becomes vacant within the one (1) year term.”

Rizzi said he knew he would be leaving for the Los Angeles program prior to running for the position, and had spoken with Dean of Students Ronald Ludman and Associate Dean of Students Sharon Duffy in addition to checking the SGA Constitution. Rizzi said the executive board was also made aware of his impending absence.

“It was brought up briefly during elections,” said Rizzi. “But since no one else was stepping up for president, it wasn’t an issue.”

Zaman said he found out Rizzi would be leaving after elections last spring, but that he was not bothered by the news. Taking over for Rizzi, Zaman said, is an assumed duty of the vice president.

“The job of the VP, and of VPs everywhere, is to take over for the president,” said Zaman. “I’m fulfilling that role, rather than forfeiting [my position].”

Chief Justice Adriana Guida said elections for president for the spring semester will not be held, as Zaman will automatically fill the role.

Junior Kristen Parker said she thinks holding an election in the middle of the school year would not be beneficial.

“I’ve worked with Tau on other things, and he has been very focused and driven,” the performing arts major said. “I think it’s a very good thing that he’s stepping in.”

Sophomore Olivia Moriarty said that she thinks it would have been more respectful if Rizzi had detailed his plans more explicitly.

“I don’t know if it would’ve changed anyone’s opinion,” the performing arts major said. “But we should have known.”

Zaman said he hopes to continue the momentum on projects Rizzi has initiated, such as conducting events that are yet to be executed and following up with potential guest speakers. Zaman said his priorities include revamping meal plans and sanitizing the dining hall, in addition to motivating current SGA members to become more active.

“I really want to empower other people in SGA to step up into bigger leadership roles,” said Zaman in an interview.

Rizzi, who was elected president through a write-in campaign last spring after no other students submitted election packets, said that the transition from his position as performing arts senator to president was difficult, but added that Zaman’s five semesters on the executive board will serve him well as president.

“Tau is going to be a different president [than myself],” said the senior performing arts major. “But he’s a very efficient person, and when he commits to something he does it wholeheartedly.”

Zaman said he hopes the next vice president will come from the current crop of SGA representatives, saying that he is worried a non-SGA-affiliated student would not be able to properly fulfill the various duties due to lack of experience.

According to Zaman, it is typical of the president to remain diplomatic, serving as an arbiter for the SGA, while the vice president advocates for issues debated during joint-session meetings.

“It would be really cool to have a great working dynamic with the next VP, who is willing to be as diligent and thorough in terms of questioning all the things we do and pushing for changes as hard as I did,” said Zaman. “I want someone who believes we can get a lot done and push everyone to rise up and surpass expectations.”

Rizzi echoed Zaman’s belief that the new vice president should come from within SGA, and said that because SGA runs throughout the entire school year, starting something fresh in the second semester would make it almost impossible to get anything done.

“VPs need to be efficient but aggressive,” said Rizzi. “If you want to accomplish anything, you have to know what you’re talking about, but you can’t hold back.”