Student Government Association to hold elections this week


Dani Webber

Student Government Association executive board candidates at the SGA candidates forum Feb. 27.

Suffolk University students can cast their vote in the Spring 2020 Student Government Association (SGA) Election until 5 p.m. Wednesday. Students are able to vote both online via SU connect and by paper ballot through the Student Leadership Involvement (SLI) office.

Karine Kanj, the current SGA president, and Marisa Kearney, co-chair of SGA’s Public Relations Committee and a senator for the Class of 2022, are running for president.

Kanj is a member of the Class of 2021 and is studying government with a concentration in public policy and law. She continues to push the same platform that she campaigned on last year.

“I ran on the slate of not wanting to make any promises that I cannot keep. I ran on transparency and I ran on wanting to give back to the international community,” said Kanj at the SGA candidates forum Thursday.

Kanj said she was not able to achieve all that she wanted to in her first term due to various “commitments within SGA and other events throughout the year.” She said she plans to give back to the Suffolk community during the upcoming academic year.

“Last year, I said I would be here for the next two years and so with that being said, my agenda was planned out for a two year slate,” said Kanj. “So I will be doing that. Next year I will definitely be implementing the give back campaign.”

Kearney is double majoring in management and marketing with a concentration in leadership. Kearney said her campaign is focusing on sustainability, inclusivity and positivity, and she is running on the slogan “Be
good, do good.”

“I also want to advocate for inclusivity– having an older brother with autism is something that is important to me– and just in general, positivity,” said Kearney.

As said in the SGA forum, Kearney ran a “pass it forward” campaign by handing out cards with positive affirmations.

Both presidential candidates were found guilty of violating election bylaws by the SGA Elections Committee. They both received two strikes against their campaign, and if they received a third, they would have had to drop out of the race.

SGA Vice President Oba Oseghali said Kanj received one strike for early campaigning, while Kearney was given a strike for not getting campaign business cards approved by SLI. Both candidates were given a strike for using the SGA logo in campaign materials, which is against SGA bylaws.

Due to these strikes, both Kanj and Kearney had to cease campaigning. Neither themselves nor others who were campaigning on their behalf could promote their campaigns.

Oseghali said the Elections Committee received complaints about the violations, and brought the issue to a vote.

“The biggest thing to stress about these strikes was that they were brought to the committee after stu-
dents submitted formal complaints,” said Oseghali. “Not all complaints filed resulted in a strike, [only] after heavy deliberation by the committee. I chair this committee but only vote when there is a tie breaker needed.”

The vice president candidates are Stephen Rykola, a member of the Housing and Facilities Committee and senator for the Class of 2022, and Lukas Phipps, chair of the Diversity Committee and commuter student senator at-large.

Rykola, a management and entrepreneurship major, said at Thursday’s forum he is running on a platform of sustainability, transparency and dedication.

“My father was a first responder in 9/11,” Rykola said at the forum. “He went into his job that day not knowing what the outcome would be, but that he was going to do what he had to do to put the needs and wants of others over his own. And I plan to use that in my potential as vice president.”

Phipps said he is pushing for transparency and responsive justice that can uplift those in need. The two-year senator at-large has served on the SGA Constitutional Review Committee, and is a member of Suffolk University Model United Nations. He said he wants to work to make SGA as accessible as possible for students.

“My goal is, I don’t want anyone to be held back by the complexities of the rules in our institutions,” said Phipps at the forum. “It will be my goal amongst many to take a look at these and simplify, make them easy. And if they can’t with [my] experience, they probably need to be changed.”

Juan Pastrana, member at-large, and Angela El-Jazzara, a member of the Student Affairs Committee are running for treasurer.

Pastrana is a member of the Class of 2023 and is double majoring in global business and business economics. Juan believes his accounting related experience in high school and his job in secretarial administration will help him effectively lead.

“My goal for this year is working face to face with every president and every treasurer for every club because I think they have a unique opportunity to deliberate and work together with SGA,” said Pastrana.

El-Jazzara is a member of the Class of 2023 and is undecided business major with the goal of pursuing a law career. She said she hopes to help the student body make the most of their time at Suffolk. She stressed the importance of being available at all times for students, whether it be during office hours, in class or in the residence halls.

“The money is there, it comes from you guys and my position wouldn’t be there if the student body wasn’t,” said El-Jazzara on hope to help students. “I will openly be there for you.”

Youssef Hassan, a two-year SGA senator for the Class of 2022, and Boston Emmanuel, senator for the Class of 2023, are running for secretary.

Emmanuel said she is running on behalf of her family, especially her dad who received limited education growing up. She plans to foster transparency and do a monthly record of motions for the student body if elected.

“Communication isn’t just about one person talking, it’s about listening and incorporating the ideals of everyone into your own ideas,” said Emmanuel at the forum.

Hassan said he is running on a campaign of transparency, specifically regarding the minutes of SGA’s weekly general meetings.

“I want to make the minutes for every single meeting much more easily accessible. I plan to summarize every meeting and summarize our agendas and send out monthly periodical emails  o the student body,” said Hassan. “That way there is much more of a clear line of communication with the student body and the student government.”