Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Tara Maltese: Her campaign for communication

Image courtesy of Tara Maltese

Junior Tara Maltese is currently the secretary of Suffolk University’s Student Government Association, and is now running unopposed for vice president in this SGA election.

Maltese, a political science major with a concentration in public policy, joined SGA as a senator for the Class of 2023 her freshman year. Prior to serving as secretary, Maltese was the SGA public relations co-chair. 

“SGA has always been something I’m really, really passionate about,” said Maltese. “I think it’s been a really amazing experience and I’ve definitely learned a lot, but I’m ready to take on something new.”

She is the chair of public relations and academic excellence for Suffolk’s Theta Phi Alpha chapter and is also a member of the Journey Program. 

During her time as secretary, Maltese aided in fully automating the minutes process “to create better and clearer transcriptions” of SGA meetings. She also organized events such as “Sundae with your senator” to foster communication and connection between SGA and students, and is currently in the process of redesigning SGA’s website “to increase accessibility and ease of accessing [SGA] documents,” she said.

If elected as vice president, Maltese said she hopes to improve communication between SGA and the student body. She aims to increase recruitment, student participation and to make SGA’s public relations more accessible for students, she said.

“I want everyone to feel comfortable coming into our meetings, and I want the relationship we have with the student body to be a little bit better. I think at the moment, a lot of people are confused about what SGA does and what it means to be in SGA,” Maltese said.

Maltese believes hosting SGA information sessions would be an effective way to inform students new and old about SGA’s mission and operations. To Maltese, accessibility and connection to students is everything.

“As vice president … something I want to focus on is making sure that documents and how we run our meetings is accessible, that information is freely given to everyone and that students really understand what we’re here to do, what we are doing, and that they feel comfortable coming to us with issues on concerns on campus,” Maltese said.

When it comes to diversity, Maltese believes that SGA can strive to improve its representation of the student body to reflect the needs of all students, no matter their background.

“Just making sure that our senate is representative of our student body is extremely important, and that’s part of the reason why I feel so strongly about increasing our recruitment efforts,” Maltese said. 

Maltese strives to foster community within both SGA and Suffolk, and wants to encourage students to view SGA as a “safe space” to voice concerns to senators.

“I feel like certain areas of the student body don’t get as much coverage as they should and we’re not reaching out the way we always could be. There’s always more that can be done in terms of diversity and accessibility,” Maltese said.

When asked about her beliefs surrounding SGA’s 2019 recommendation to arm the Suffolk University Police Department, and whether the debate should be reintroduced, Maltese said she will default to the students.

“If [the discussion of arming SUPD] were to even come up again, it has to reflect how students are feeling now, and if that’s something that students even want to see,” Maltese said. “I personally don’t believe that my thoughts have anything to do with it, it should be all about [students].”

However, Maltese noted that if SGA were to reopen the debate, there would need to be further research and student input before any final decision is made.

“Without [the research and student input], we’re basically acting on opinion, and I don’t think that’s fair to the student body,” Maltese said.

Maltese said the university’s current COVID-19 policy is effective and working “fairly well” for the student body, but added that administrators should continue to heed advice from the Center for Disease Control and respond accordingly.

“We’ve hit a good point where people are getting more comfortable with the testing and we’re lessening restrictions on our weekly testing,” Maltese said. “In the coming months, I expect, from what we’ve seen and what the CDC has said, for some of our guidelines to shift and change. I think as long as we’re following what the CDC is suggesting, then our protocol is great as it is.”

As the Suffolk community continues to persevere through a pandemic, Maltese emphasized that the university’s actions should reflect the student body’s COVID-19 positivity rate, as well as guidance from health professionals. She noted that if cases were to rise at Suffolk, she would encourage mandatory weekly testing to be reinstated.

Maltese said she is looking eagerly to the future of SGA, though she added that the organization is losing many prominent senior members to graduation. However, she said this is a chance to inform and educate “a new wave of students” on the mission and goals of SGA.

“Communication with students is something we can improve on, especially since a lot of people are coming from different backgrounds and this is the first year [since the beginning of the pandemic] that we’re in person,” Maltese said. “[SGA] needs to be that support system, and we need to be that voice.”

Maltese emphasized that she is not afraid of change and that, if elected, she will foster a welcoming and accessible environment within SGA.

“I think that by making everything a little more accessible, a little bit more understandable and sometimes less formal, [SGA] can be more approachable in general and we can be open to more areas on campus,” said Maltese.

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About the Contributor
Shealagh Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief | she/her
Shealagh is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in international relations from Ashby, Mass. She has previously worked as a co-op for the Boston Globe on the homepage desk and as an intern for GBH News and Boston Public Radio. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, finding a new favorite coffee spot and exploring Boston. She is a huge art lover and wants nothing more than to see the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. After graduation, Shealagh hopes to be a political journalist in Washington D.C. Follow Shealagh on Twitter @ShealaghS.

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Tara Maltese: Her campaign for communication