SGA operating sans six seats, pres. and vp filling roles in the interim

by Christopher Gavin / Beacon Correspondent • September 20, 2012

Ally emptyseats
Six joint-session positions remain vacant.
Six joint-session positions remain vacant.

The Student Government Association is currently trying to fill six joint-session positions and appoint nine commissioners to the table before the semester continues. 

The vacant seats include vice treasurer, secretary, deputy justice, class of 2015 senator, individually designed interdisciplinary program (IDIP) senator, and performing arts senator, as well as nine of the appointed commissioner’s positions. The elections commissioner is the most important open spot, according to SGA President Tau Zaman.

“We do need a secretary very badly,” said Zaman, a senior political communication major. “We also need an elections commissioner.” 

Zaman said Vice President Caitlin Higgins is filling the position of secretary in the interim. Additionally, if there is no one to fill the role of the elections commissioner, it is the responsibility of the president to fulfill the duties of the position.

The elections commissioner oversees all regular and special elections with the assistance of an elections committee, according to the SGA constitution.

Zaman said that doing both jobs is stressful. He said he compensates by sacrificing personal time. 

“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” he said. “I definitely don’t let [the] SGA suffer as a result of it.” 

The SGA Constitution states the executive secretary is responsible for all note-and-record taking at SGA meetings, among other duties. 

Higgins said that although taking on two positions at once has been annoying, she believes that the extra responsibility has not affected her performance as vice president. 

“So much of any SGA position is done outside of meetings,” said the senior journalism major. 

General elections for the SGA were held spring and resulted in 16 out of the total 21 positions up for election being filled. However, positions such as vice treasurer, Zaman said, are only determined on an as-needed basis, depending on the workload of the executive treasurer.

The performing arts senator  — formerly held by Faith Howes  — is open because of the absence of a candidate who received a majority of the vote in the general elections held last semester, according to Zaman.

The IDIP senator position is also rarely occupied, said Zaman, adding that there was only one student that he knew of in his four years in the SGA who ever held the title.

Zaman said this is mainly because it is difficult for a student in the IDIP program to represent the interests of all the other students in the program, considering each student has a differently designed major.

All senatorial positions in the SGA, including class senators, require the student in office to work for specific interests and problems that concern the group of students he or she is representing. 

Zaman said the SGA plans to hold special elections for these positions in early-to-mid-October.

Class of 2013 President Jenna McPadden said she believes that students seem to forget that there is still a large student body that calls for representation, since many students get wrapped up in different groups and organizations.

“It’s interesting at Emerson,” said the marketing communication and writing, literature, and publishing double major. “There are so many organizations that allow you to take so many different roles to have a voice in your own community.” 

Zaman said that he would like to see more students involved in the SGA, but he is not worried about finding students to occupy the vacant positions, nor does he feel that the SGA will fall apart due to vacant positions.

Higgins also said that she believes that that the vacant positions are not an issue for the SGA right now. 

“We’re just getting back into the swing of things,” she said. “I think something that people don’t remember a lot of the time is that SGA is just a student organization. It’s just about finding students who want to put in all this extra time.”

Zaman said he remains optimistic about the rest of the school year for the SGA. 

“I think [the] SGA will do fine and land on its feet no matter what,” he said.