Last Wednesday, juniors Sam Flood and Matt Haley won the Student Government Association (SGA) Presidential Election, defeating thier opponents, juniors Albert Raminfard and James Speight.
The race was tight, acording to election commissioners sophomore Nicholas Harper and senior Molly Clinton. After deductions as a result of penalties, the Flood/Haley ticket received 417.1 votes with a 1.63 percent deduction and the Raminfard/Speight ticket recieved 386.7 votes with a 4.99 percent deduction. Barring violations, the outcome would have been the same as Flood/Haley recieved 424 votes and the Raminfard/Speight ticket received 407 votes without deductions. 28 percent of students voted on the portal.
Flood and Haley felt their past experiences both within and outside of SGA have prepared them for these new roles. Flood has served on SGA since Fall 2010 as senator, parlimentarian and most recently, speaker of the Senate in Fall 2012. Flood is also a Southern Madison County Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SOMAC) EMT, a member of the Residential Life staff and a member of the Student Conduct Board. Haley currently serves as speaker of SGA and is President of Sigma Chi.
According to Haley, the duo wanted to run because they have always been somewhat disillusioned with the function of SGA.
“We feel like sometimes the University will enact procedure above the students without getting SGA approval,” Haley said.
Though they have focused during the last three years to ensure that the administration adheres to the protocol in the student handbook, they continue to identify the proper role for SGA as well as elevate the administration’s awareness of this institutionalized role.
“We hope to lay down the framework for a better student government to exist after we leave Colgate,” Haley said.
The main tenet of the Flood/Haley platform is the maintenance of SGA as an integral part of the whole university governance. On more influential policies, Flood and Haley plan to make sure that the administration not only hears, but also understands the student voice. “There are great people in SGA and great people in the administration, but we just need the right protocol to make sure each side understands one another,” Haley said. “Oftentimes in the past, there has just been improper communication.”
To combat the misunderstandings and misconceptions between students and administration, Flood and Haley intend to hold the administration accountable for SGA’s participation in decisions. At the same time, Flood and Haley also believe members of SGA must be responsible and fulfill their proper roles. This assurance of accountability on both sides is the top priority for Flood and Haley upon entering office in the Fall.
In addition to solidifying the presence of SGA in decision making, Flood and Haley based their platform on other various goals.
First, the two proposed the addition of online syllabi that would be available during registration and thus offer students more course information from the get-go. Haley said that this option has not been brought to the Senate before, and he thinks it is a realistic goal. A second goal for Flood and Haley is the introduction of mid-semester review forms across all classes. While some professors ask for feedback informally and all are required to distribute Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) forms at the end of the term, Flood and Haley believe it would be constructive for both students and faculty to perform the reviews while students are still fully engaged and invested in the course.
A last point of the campaign is the call for third-party options for
“We have many groups on campus suited toward this goal like CAB and events at Parker Commons, but it is a matter of holding these groups accountable,” Haley said. “It is important to find a central ground where all students – non-Greek and Greek – can freely attend.”
With Flood on the Geneva study group, the ticket faced the difficulty of having a candidate campaign from abroad. Haley said that it has been five years since a ticket won with someone abroad.
“It was a great campaign on both sides, and the quality of Albert and James’s ticket made campaigning from Geneva ever more formidable,” Flood said. “It was such a close race, and I am glad I was able to get back to Colgate.”
Flood and Haley emphasised personal contact during the campaign process campaign team. Besides the typical routine of posters and banners, the team went to first-year dormitories and asked what these students wanted to see develop in their next years at Colgate.
“I think that because we formed our ideas around our personal interaction with student voices, we were able to be so successful,” Haley said.
Flood and Haley spoke highly about their team, who worked to make their presence on campus known through Facebook, as well as multiple Frank and O’Connor Campus Center (Coop) tables.
“I owe a great deal of gratitude to Matt, senior Amy McBeth, senior Ali Berkman and the other campaign agents that tirelessly worked while I was abroad,”
Flood and Haley will start now to face the most pertinent issues.
“I suppose the most pressing issue will be ensuring SGA has a successful start to the year, which entails producing a detailed calendar for the first semester, the completion of a productive Executive Board orientation, as well as planning the first Senate Orientation and meetings,” Flood said. “This semester Matt and my first priority is to determine who will comprise the Executive Board, or cabinet, of SGA. In the coming weeks we will send out a distribution looking for qualified and dedicated candidates to fill myriad positions.”
Both agree that the most substantial barrier preventing achievement of their goals is the new “Relationship Statement” and in connection, the ingrained conceptions of the administration about student social life. This relationship statement promises to restructure the institutional and financial processes that the school- and SGA have relied upon for
“Although this may only tangentially affect the student and academic life aspects of our platform we championed such as gender-neutral housing, inclusion dinners and online syllabi, it would require an overhaul of SGA touchstones: the Constitution, Bylaws, the Student Organizations Committee and the Budget Allocations Committee (BAC), to name a few,” Flood said. “My concern is that the ensuing overhaul may require significant SGA time and resources to amend those institutions, which may then subvert our student and academic life initiatives.”
As SGA senators during their first semester as first-years, Flood and Haley promised one another that they would run together for SGA President and Vice President. Two years later, they fulfilled their promise and did one more- by winning the President and Vice President positions effective next Fall.