Student gov’t passes resolution to elect its chairperson by student vote

The Student Government Assembly democratized its selection process to include increased student participation at its latest meeting on Feb. 17.


Ryan Walker

The most recent Student Government Assembly meeting on Feb. 17 passed a resolution that would allow the student body to elect the SGA chairperson. (Images courtesy of SGA and Jorene He, Staff Illustration by Ryan Walker)

Maria Freyre, Staff Writer

The Student Government Assembly passed a resolution to elect its chairperson using a popular vote with the goal of increasing student representation in the election process, at its third meeting on Feb. 17. The resolution passed with 83% voting in favor, 10% against and 6% abstaining. 

“As a body that is committed to changing, growing, developing and prioritizing the voices of students, a resolution towards the committee that would be invested in exploring the inclusion of those voices in SGA a little bit further would be in the best interest of our principles,” said Katarina Demos, a Steinhardt junior and vice chair of the Organization and Governance Committee.

To oversee the voting process, the student government created a new committee composed of SGA and non-SGA members. At least two senators at-large, two school senators and two presidents who will graduate between 2022 and 2023 will be represented on the committee, and all NYU students are encouraged to join. 

“We don’t want to gatekeep who gets involved in this,” said Ron Hall, a CAS junior and recently elected Presidents Council vice-chair. “We want students involved in it, and it’s really just an open invitation.”

Before the resolution was passed, the student government had discussed increasing student voices in the electoral process. The topic was presented by the Organization and Governance Committee after 62.4% of 527 NYU students said they would prefer that the chairperson be elected by popular vote in a February 2020 poll. The resolution, however, was postponed twice after first being introduced at the semester’s first SGA meeting on Jan. 27.

The new committee, which will be introduced in the 2022-23 academic year, was established in response to concerns raised by some SGA members on the implementation of the popular vote. Shawn Thibault, the senator representing the NYU School of Law and chair of the Organization and Governance Committee, said some members may have opposed the popular vote due to the resolution’s unspecific participation guidelines.

“This resolution is definitely the product of a lot of compromise from a lot of different people,” Thibault said. “I’m really proud of the Organization and Governance Committee’s ability to write this resolution in such a way that it could pass with such a high percentage of the SGA body voting in favor of it.” 

In the upcoming weeks, the Organization and Governance Committee will choose a chairperson, who will be appointed by the Executive Committee, and will work to include the student body in the committee. 

The SGA’s next meeting will be held on March 3. That same day, a town hall with NYU president Andrew Hamilton will be hosted at noon. 

Contact Maria Freyre at [email protected].