Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Student government polls open, first event canceled last-minute

Sam Hill | The Free Press

Posted on March 23, 2015 in News
By Sam Hill

There was an event scheduled last Friday for students to meet and learn more about their peers running positions within student government, but no one attended, not even the candidates.

After an email was sent to the USM Events listings confirming the event on Tuesday, it was rescheduled for Monday, but no official notice of the change was posted on university or student government websites or social media accounts.

In an email on Friday evening, student senate vice chair Tom Bahun told the Free Press that an email was supposed to have been sent out by either Dean of Students Joy Pufhal or student life director Jason Saucier.

“The elections committee and the student body president asked to consolidate the Friday event with the Monday event to make a stronger one,” said Saucier in an email on Friday evening. “Unfortunately we did not get a correction out on the e-mail list.”

Within an hour after the event was sent to begin, not a single student wandered into the area where the event was supposed to take place. USM tech support employees had set-up equipment in preparation for the event, but packed up after an hour when no one arrived. They had not been notified of a cancellation.

Senate Chair Judson Cease and Parliamentarian Joshua Tharpe did not respond to emails asking for information sent Friday evening.

Nominations Closed, polls open

This year’s presidential race is between four candidates, including current members of the student government.

Rebecca Tanous, current student body vice president and senior chemistry and education major, is running with junior chemistry major Matthew Creisher.

“I truly believe that this position is where I can best serve the students,” wrote Tanous in her election bio. “Having been a member of the Student Government Association for two full years, I feel confident in my knowledge of how the SGA functions and am passionate on utilizing it to better aid the students.”

The pair list improving USM’s marketing efforts, improving connections between students, faculty and administrators and student organization groups as key issues they hope to focus on.

“Being a transfer student, I have a vested interest in how this University represents itself to those that are potentially interested in enrolling,” wrote Creisher. “As vice president I would be able to work closely with students and faculty members in order to bring about changes to the schools advertising system; in order to showcase a more welcoming and inviting front to those looking into the school.”

Senator John Jackson, a political science and business management major, is running for president with economics major Mackenzie McHatton as his vice president. Information on the candidates’ academic standing was not provided.

“As a Student Senator here at USM this past year, especially during the rollercoaster of an academic year we’ve had, I have not only established relationships with the people that are in the most influential of positions around the University thus allowing me to get tasks done, but I have also have first-hand experience with the requirements and commitments of the position of Student Body President,” wrote Jackson. “I believe that Mackenzie and I are the individuals that can help bring and be able to ensure that the voice of the student body is heard among the faculty, administration and the board of trustees on any subject that the student body wants its opinions voiced.”

Jackson noted that student involvement in university governance, parking problems on campus, university marketing and pushing the metropolitan university model as issues he would tackle.

The final runners for the president’s office are sophomore political science and criminology major Paul McGuire and junior leadership and organizational studies major Camden Ege.

“We are passionate about USM and it’s future,” reads their election bio page. “We recognize that this is an important time in shaping the University and we want the opportunity to do that responsibly.”

Their goals include improving communication across the board at USM and helping students better represent themselves in the surrounding community.

Junior psychology and criminology major Derrick Kennedy is running solo.

“ I want to be Student Body President because I have a voice,” wrote Kennedy,” and I, like many of the students of USM, recognize what the issues are, and believe that I have a powerful enough voice to be heard and to make a difference in bringing about a much needed change.”

Kennedy lists improving student resources on the path to graduation as his one presidential goal. His hobbies include hiking, mountain biking and weight lifting, according to his profile.

Only 13 candidates for the student senate are on the ballot and the senate has 21 seats to fill. It looks like the race for those positions will be completely uncontested this year.

This year’s referendum questions look for student input on adjusting the hours of the Gorham café and Woodbury café to better accommodate late classes, athletics. Another topic up for debate is expanding the Saturday mall bus run to also include stopping at places like Walmart and Target and increasing the frequency of the late-night bus to the Old Port.

The SGA has scheduled a ‘meet the candidates’ event for Monday at 1 p.m. in the Woodbury Campus Center. There will be a debate between the candidates for student body president.

Polls open at 1:30 p.m. and student can vote online through the SGA page on USM’s website.

 

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