PA senator announces bid for presidency

by Alexander C. Kaufman / Beacon Staff • March 24, 2011

Performing Arts Senator Jeffrey Rizzi announced today he will run for presidency of the Student Government Association.

Rizzi, who will run as a write-in candidate, is currently the sole contender for the top seat in student government. Eight positions on SGA remain without candidates in the upcoming elections.

“I’d love to be able to seize the opportunity and really work for what SGA needs,” the junior acting major said in phone interview minutes after he announced his candidacy on Facebook. “It’s an incredible opportunity that’s opened up.”

Originally planning to run for reelection, Rizzi said he submitted an elections packet on Monday for the performing arts senator seat, and will appear on the ballot for that position.

However, with President Cami Bravo studying in Los Angeles next semester, the ballot for SGA’s highest office was blank.

Bravo said today she officially endorsed the senator’s bid to succeed her.

“He’s represented his constituents well,” she said in a telephone interview. “He’s been so well-organized and so well-versed in the issues that are important to students. I’m really impressed by him.”

Rizzi said he plans to continue Bravo’s work expanding the college’s foreign language curriculum and improving communication between students and the business services department.

“I really want to follow through on Cami’s initiatives and make sure that will keep happening,” he said.

As performing arts senator, Rizzi worked to make space available for student-run performance groups to practice and perform in. He said opening up studios and stages will remain one of his foremost priorities.

“The biggest thing I’ve been working on is the space issue,” said Rizzi, who minors in political communication.

Rizzi said he also aims to work with the Emerson chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy to revise the penalties for drug possession.

Though the presidency is currently uncontested, Vice President Tau Zaman, who is up for reelection, said he was prepared to run for president if an unqualified write-in candidate attempted to take the position on a whim.

“My hope would be that someone who really, really wants the position and is qualified would reach out to me and ask for my input, and that of other SGA members,” he said in an interview with the Beacon yesterday. “I worry, someone says to their roommates, ‘write me in,’ and they get five or so votes, do they become president of the student body?”

Zaman could not be reached for immediate comment today.

To win, Rizzi must receive 51 percent of all votes cast for that position, SGA Chief Justice Adriana Guida said.

But Rizzi said he hopes the next two weeks of campaigning will heighten students’ awareness of the SGA.

“Regardless of what happens in this election, I really want the awareness of student government to be increased,” he said. “I want students to know SGA can do a lot for this campus.”