A three-way race began for Student Association president on late Tuesday night with the Senate Election Committee posting the official slate. The candidates now have less than a month to sway voters with elections taking place March 6 and 7.
The elected president and vice president will preside over SA for the next academic year. SA is responsible for governing over 160 student organizations as well as representing students at committee, department and board meetings.
Nathan Hemmes, Nicholas Staiano and Rebecca Witkin are running to fill this role next year. Anthony Smith and Shannon Melero are running for vice president.
In order to become candidates, each potential candidate had to petition for 500 valid student signatures. It is against the rules that potential candidates campaign prior to the official start of the race.
An investigation has begun into one candidate, Staiano, who allegedly used a PowerPoint presentation to develop and advertise his platform, helping get supporters to sign his petition to run prior to the official slate being posted by SA., according to people familiar with the matter.
“There is an investigation going on about it now,” Senate Election Committee Chair Eric Flagg said, while declining to name the subject of the investigation. “The code, the Student Association code, does explicitly say that potential candidates, as in not candidates yet, cannot campaign before the posting of the slate.
It says the candidates cannot be portraying any sort of campaigning materials. We have heard there is a candidate not abiding by that rule.”
“I had no idea I was under investigation,” Staiano said Thursday night after the debate.
Now that the election race is underway, candidates may use social media to garner attention and hosting tables outside The Point, as well as participate in debates. The first took place in Waterbury Hall on Thursday, which was moderated by Flagg.
The next debate will be on Thursday, Feb. 23 on the first floor lounge of Oneida Hall at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s going to be town hall style, which means that everybody who comes to observe the debate are the people that are going to be participating and asking questions,” Flagg said. “The moderator won’t be asking questions; it’s strictly from the student body, which I think is crucial because it really shows what’s important to the student body, what they want to see.”
A tentative date of March 1 has been established for a debate to be filmed by WTOP, which would air on March 2.
On March 6 and 7 students will be emailed a link to the online ballot through their school email accounts to vote for the president and vice president position.
Also included in the vote will be two referendums. The first one asks if the student activity fee should be mandatory or voluntary for each student. The second vote will decide whether the amended SA constitution is approved or not.
“Students should definitely go online and vote on March 6 and 7 and should have a say in who represents them,” Flagg said.