Stephen Rykola: looking to make a difference as vice president

Class of 2022 Senator Stephen Rykola is looking for your vote for vice president this SGA election season.  

Rykola, who has been involved with SGA for two years now, is a business management major with a minor in entrepreneurship and a concentration in leadership. He is also a resident assistant in the 10 West dorm building.

As an SGA senator, Rykola has been involved in the Senate Judiciary Review Board (SJRB) and the Housing and Facilities Committee. Recently, he has authored two different amendments to the SGA bylaws that are intended to help students be able to vote impartially in SGA elections. He also authored an amendment regarding the election confirmation procedure for SGA members.

Rykola also co-authored an amendment regarding transparency within SGA, which requires that SGA meeting topics be posted by the PR team on social media at least 24 hours before they will be discussed at meetings so that students can voice their concerns prior to a vote on them.

Now he hopes to continue to implement change by becoming the next SGA vice president.

“This is going to sound kind of stereotypical, but I’m running because I want to make a difference,” Rykola said.

Thanks to his involvement with the SJRB, Rykola said he sees issues he can address and make a difference with every week, and he wants to make those changes as vice president.

If elected, Rykola hopes to “create policies that work, implement reform that actually gets the job done and give more power back to the student body,”  which are the three main principles of his campaign. 

“I believe reform is necessary for every step because it serves as a check and balance every year, and I want to work for the unification of SGA documents to better serve the student body,” Rykola said.

When asked about the recommendation made in 2019 by SGA to arm the Suffolk University Police Department, and if he supported that recommendation, Rykola said that his opinion favors the opinion of the student body, and he has reason to believe that students do not think SUPD should be armed.

“At the end of the day, it’s not what I believe, it’s what the students of the university believe,” he said.

Rykola believes that if SGA were to revisit the recommendation, it would be a good opportunity for them to listen more to the student body by holding open debates and considerations. 

“I know that in 2019, [the recommendation] caused a lot of argument. That’s something I heard about almost as soon as I got [to Suffolk],” Rykola said, “I just think that we could be more open and transparent about when these conversations happen.”

He said that students didn’t really have enough knowledge on the topic to really voice their opinions about it.

Rykola believes that the university’s COVID-19 policies have been strong and effective so far, but he would like to see longer test site hours, including weekend hours. He also thinks that a phone hotline would be better than the COVID questions email that the university has set up.

As vice president, Rykola hopes to use SGA policy to bring about tangible change at the university. 

“To me, being Vice President means more than just the title. It means giving each student an equal representation and equal justice through the SJRB,” Rykola said. 

“I think the most important thing that we can do is be broad in our perspectives and accurate in our decisions based on policy,” he continued. “I think that as long as we get that done, then equal justice and representation will come through.”

Follow Grace on Twitter @GraceM123456.