Student Government Elections, Explained
Starting Monday, an election portal for certain positions in student government will open — here’s a guide to what that means.
Mar 31, 2019
Elections for student government positions will be underway in the coming weeks, so WSN broke down how students can vote and what they are voting for.
How to Vote
Students can vote for members of the Presidents Council and School Senators, a part of the Students Senators Council, by going to studentvote.nyu.edu and filling out a ballot for the respective position. Presidents of schools — which make up part of the Presidents Council — and School Senators can only be voted for by students in the schools they represent. The PC and SSC make up the Student Government Assembly, NYU’s main representative body of students. This semester is the first where there will be all-university elections using the portal.
However, not all councils will use the portal — with the option to conduct their elections differently, those that have traditionally used a different process may continue to do so. Because of this, students cannot vote for every election through the portal but should be able to use it for most.
What SGA Does
SGA works to address issues that are relevant to students, mainly by passing resolutions. Sometimes this is in the form of letters of support, which state that SGA backs certain groups or efforts. SGA has passed letters of support for graduate students fighting NYU’s administration due to changes made to their healthcare plans, Jewish students looking to have school canceled on the holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and others. In addition to letters of support, resolutions can suggest changes to policy such as adding student and faculty representation to the Board of Trustees, adopting a socially responsible investment policy or divesting from fossil fuels. For changes to actually be made in the university’s policy, resolutions passed in SGA have to then be presented and passed in the University Senate, a representative body of students, faculty and administrators. If passed in the University Senate, it then is presented to the Board of Trustees, who have the final say as to whether or not any changes will occur. The Board has struck down multiple resolutions in the past, such as one which would add student and faculty representation to the Board and another which would have NYU divest from fossil fuels.
The Presidents Council is one of two bodies that make up the Student Government Assembly. Presidents of schools, such as the College of Arts and Science or Stern School of Business, account for 27 of the 42 presidents. The remaining 15 are presidents of councils or groups outside of specific schools. For example, Greek life, resident assistants, transfer students and other groups also have presidents on the council.
Student Senators Council
The Student Senators Council, along with the Presidents Council, makes up SGA. The SSC is also part of the University Senate and is comprised of 23 School Senators — which represent individual schools — and 14 Senators at-Large meant to represent communities that may have less of a voice otherwise, such as students of color, LGBTQ students and Muslim students. Each Senator at-Large also appoints their own alternate. Alternate Senators at-Large have no voting power unless their respective senator is absent, but can sit in on meetings. School Senators are voted in by students of the school they represent, while Senators at-Large go through a different process. Senators at-Large submit an application, personal statement, resume and a letter of recommendation from a member of the community they wish to represent. School Senators vote on the applicants to decide who will get positions. This year, the vote for Senators at-Large will occur on April 4, with students appointed to the positions on April 11.
The Executive Committee of SGA
The Executive Committee is elected by SGA and is made up of the Chairperson and three Vice Chairpersons. The Chairperson of the SGA and of each individual council. Vice Chairpersons of the PC, SSC and Global Student Council are also Vice Chairpersons of SGA. The Chairperson calls and runs all meetings and is the official spokesperson of the SGA. The Vice Chairperson assists the Chairperson and fulfills their duties if they are absent for any reason. The current Vice Chairpersons are CAS seniors Anesu Nyatanga, Izzy Khoufaify and Rachel Law of the SSC, PC and GSC, respectively. The Chairperson is CAS senior Hüsniye Çöğür. Only current members of SGA who are returning the following semester can run for the positions. Elections will occur on April 18.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 1 print edition. Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected]
Correction, April 1: A previous version of this article stated that the vote for Senators at-Large would occur on April 11. It was later clarified that Senators at-Large will be appointed on April 11, although the vote will occur on April 4. Additionally, the previous version only mentioned Anesu Nyatanga as the Vice Chair of the SGA. The article has been updated to include Presidents Council Vice Chair Izzy Khoufaify and Vice Chair of the Global Students Council Rachel Law. The article has been updated to reflect these corrections.