Quinnipiac Student Government Association clears up confusion, plans to make changes

By Mary Rose Bevins

The confusion surrounding Quinnipiac University’s recent Student Government Association election isn’t isolated. And it seems to be affecting the entire organization.

In an interview with Q30, former SGA presidential candidate Joe Iasso said that without interest, he is worried about where SGA is headed.   

“It’s very clear to me that student government is not something that people want to be a part of anymore and that’s really unfortunate,” he said.

Iasso said the cabinet member of SGA are made up almost entirely of those who ran for executive board positions and lost.

“We didn’t have that interest from people just to be the core of our organizations which are those class representatives. They’re the ones who are meeting with administrators every day and making sure that the best interest of students are being met. People just really don’t seem to care about that anymore.” Iasso said.

Part of the reason for the lack of engagement may be confusion when it comes to the bylaws, according to SGA advisor Erin Twomey.

To run for class cabinet, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be a full-time undergraduate student

  2. Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher

  3. Be in good conduct standing regarding the Quinnipiac University Student Handbook

  4. Hold class affiliation as defined by the University

  5. Attended an Election Committee information session

  6. Submit a petition with signatures from 15 percent of their respective class

  7. Submit a 100 word statement of purpose

However executive board position are slightly different. Eligible candidates must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher. They also must have been a student at Quinnipiac for three consecutive semesters, been in an elected position for two full semesters, and served on a committee or cabinet for three full semesters.  

According to Twomey, these requirements create uncertainty around who is allowed to run for executive board positions.

“I think people zone in on one thing and don’t often think about all of the other five stipulations that are there,” she said.

Some students, like junior Jack Onofrio were concerned that not all candidates in last year’s election met the election requirements to run for executive board.

“The requirements are not consistently enforced. In the past we’ve had two members of last years committee, George Corde and Ali Munshi, they both ran for an e-board position despite only serving on an SGA committee for two semesters,” he said.

Austin Calvo, vice president of student experience, cleared up the confusion.

“The three semester thing is a huge misinterpretation,” Calvo said.

Matriculated students are full time students pursuing a degree. Calvo said that last year’s candidates started their SGA membership fall semester of their sophomore year and ran for an executive position in the spring. So they were running for an executive board position in their third semester of being a matriculated student. By the time the election process was over they were considered a three semester matriculated student and were qualified to run for executive board.

Twomey admits the bylaws and constitution are not easy to read but they are reviewed and re-written in some way every year to make it easier for students to understand.

“(SGA members) need to be as transparent as possible with the student body because the student body is the one that put them in the seat,” Twomey said.

According to Twomey, the structure SGA runs on is something that worked 20 years ago and doesn’t anymore. Members of SGA like Ryan Lynch are trying to make a change that will be effective for the next 10-20 years.

“You’re starting to see some of this change, this edition of the potential judicial branch, the change from representative to senators these are the things they want to change and they want move into an era with the new student government,” Twomey said.

Ryan Lynch started his membership in SGA his freshman year and wanted to change it to try to engage more students. His long term process includes people who are passionate about initiatives like sports, student organizations, school of business etc., having a significant role in SGA.

Lynch wants to “expand the organization make it larger and give people roles that they can be more excited and get behind, we have people who just take representative positions and they can only do so much with them,” Lynch said.

Lynch’s first step in this process is voting in the judicial branch. Lynch hopes it will combat the perceived lack of passion in the organization by making sure members are fulfilling their duties.

Lynch is hoping to see growth in the Student Government Organization and hopes it sticks with this process for a very long time.

President Elect, Ryan Hicks will make the transition to president this week.