Record votes for SGA president

Winner announced tonight

The News published the original version of this article on April 8 with the meeting place for the senate meeting as Raytheon Ampitheater. The meeting place was changed after print time.

By Bill Shaner, News Staff

After a weeklong voting period, the Student Government Association (SGA) garnered votes from 24.85 percent of the student population for its presidential election, satisfying the 20 percent quota necessary to validate the results.

Information Services must verify the vote count and the Senate Nominations and Elections Committee (SNEC) must approve campaign budgets before the winner is declared, Chair of SNEC Christian Toczko said. If all goes well, SNEC plans to announce the winner at tonight’s senate meeting at 7 p.m. in 220 Shillman Hall.

The turnout is the highest since direct elections started in 2007, Toczko said.

“This year we blew it out of the water,” Toczko said.

SGA senator Matt Soleyn said he attributes the turnout to two things: Students are more “directly feeling” SGA’s initiatives this year such as more clocks in classrooms and the library’s extended hours and both candidates’ “in-your-face” campaign style, with chalk drawings and door-to-door residence hall visits.

Erik Grosfeld, president of the Northeastern’s Music and Entertainment Industry Student Association (MEISA) chapter, said he recognized how hard it can be to reach out to students on campus, and that he felt SGA did a good job.

“They did promote themselves way over the top,” he said. “They kind of hit up everywhere, so I give them props for putting in an effort that must have taken a lot of time.”

But some students said SGA left its biggest mark on the physical campus, not with its accomplishments.

“I think if they actually did more stuff on campus, people would remember that,” sophomore International Affairs and Anthropology dual major Amy Edison said. “But I’d really chalk it up to the drawings and signs around campus.”

Others said they were glad they weren’t pestered to vote this year as they had been in years past.

“In past years, I’d be in my residence hall and someone would come around and say ‘Hey have you voted yet because we don’t have enough votes yet,’” senior chemical engineering major Blayne Phillips said. “I think if they actually get it this time without having to prod the students who didn’t vote to vote then they’re making strides.”

This year’s direct election is the fourth consecutive. In 2007, there was a 15 percent quota and SGA met it. It was then raised to 20 percent and in 2008 and 2009 the quota was not met in the allotted week so the voting had to be extended, Toczko said.

The 20 percent quota was determined by the administration and SGA because the administration “wanted assurance that the directly elected president of SGA was genuinely representative of the undergraduate student body,” history professor and longtime SGA faculty adviser Gerald Herman said.

Direct elections were first attempted in the early ’90s, Herman said. But, without the Internet, he said, the elections failed and were not attempted again until an online system was implemented through myNEU.

“The ideal always was that SGA leaders would be elected by the student body, the problem was finding the appropriate mechanism to do it,” he said. “The long term goal is to have more of the executive board elected through direct elections but you have to make sure the first one works before you think about going forward.”

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