3.1 percent of students vote in SGA election

One-hundred-seventy-seven students voted in SGA’s spring election on April 17, according to David Baldwin, associate dean of students. This accounts for 3.1 percent of FSU’s student body.

Last year, 6.3 percent of students voted. The previous year, 11 percent of students voted.

Voting was open on Ramlink on April 17 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students could also vote in the McCarthy Center lobby, where SGA members hosted a table at which ballots could be cast using laptops.

Junior Ben Carrington was elected SGA president for the 2018-19 academic year. This was the only contested position in this election. Carrington ran against junior Adam Scanlon.

Current SGA president Kyle Rosa said he believes the newly elected eBoard will “leave their mark on campus.”

He added, “I hope next year, SGA continues to work on our established goals of spreading unity across campus, improving student resources and getting creative with outreach programming, all while creating their own original initiatives.”

In a statement to The Gatepost, Carrington said he plans to continue efforts to promote diversity and inclusion next year as SGA president.

“This year, I collaborated with the Black Student Union to put on our first ever Dinner & Dialogues event, where we spoke on contemporary issues that our society and campus face,” said Carrington.

He added, “I really want to tackle the gap that exists between our student population and SGA. I plan on improving our open forum marketing, as students are not aware that open forum is a platform for any student to bring concerns to SGA, and we can communicate these concerns to the administration and advocate on their behalf. … I also want to publicize office hours of eBoard members and senators so students can come and voice their concerns.”

Vice President-elect Alex Backer said he and Carrington plan to invite speakers to campus to hold a “tough talks” series next year. Topics would include diversity, racism, sexual assault/harassment and homophobia.

“We want to spark a dialogue on campus to have the students truly understand these issues and to be able to freely discuss some unsettling/uncomfortable topics, because that is the only way we can grow as a community,” said Backer.

Backer added he was honored to be elected vice president after only serving one year as a senator on SGA. He said the current vice president, Jack Capello, empowered him to run for the position after he helped Backer spearhead the “Harassment Ends Here” campaign to fight harassment in the gym.

“It’s good to know that someone will be by your side and assist you when you need guidance toward your goals,” said Backer.

Current SGA Secretary Bridget Green was the primary organizer of this spring’s election. She said this election was important to her because she has served on SGA throughout all four years of her career at FSU and these elections would decide her replacement.

“In the past few weeks, SGA has been talked about across campus in both a negative and positive light. With that being said, I was ready for a great turn out with elections because I felt that since so many people had things to say, they would reflect their opinions in votes,” she said.

“This unfortunately was not the case,” as this election had the lowest turnout in recent years, Green added.

Erin Johnson will fill Green’s position on next year’s eBoard.

Johnson said, “I now know how to debate respectfully with my fellow senators, and how to handle all the assumptions that students may come in with after serving as a senator on SGA. I hope next year to work toward breaking down those assumptions and helping all students feel more represented by the senators.”

Allie Flood was elected Class and Club Treasurer. She said, “Through this position, I hope to enrich student life as well as communicate effectively with the student body as to what SGA’s role is on campus.”

Also on the ballot this election were candidates for faculty and staff member of the year. According to Ethan Feuer, director of SILD, the winners of these awards will be announced during the All-University Banquet on May 4.

“That is a secret until the banquet,” said Feuer.

Feuer added the awards announcements process is not the only process his department has decided to change since he started at FSU in January.

Feuer took over SILD after Claire Ostrander left the University last year.

He said after his first semester here, it’s come to his attention that student leaders often feel ill-equipped to handle their new positions. This past Friday during a student leadership training session, a new system was announced that will streamline club and organization processes for events and initiatives. SILD also plans to revamp the current model of student leadership training.

“A lot of student leaders said, ‘You know what, we come into this role and we really actually don’t know all the mechanics,’” said Feuer. He said student leaders have struggled with the range of responsibilities they take on from ordering equipment to conflict management and agenda setting.

He added, “We do great work here. We’re just trying to listen to students to see what we could do better.”