University enters election season

Kelsey Ruane

As the academic year draws to a close, Student Government Association elections begin. This year, students have three tickets to choose from.

Presidential debate

The candidates for student body president and vice president for the ’09-’10 academic year debated in Driscoll Hall on March 18.The presidential candidates and their running mates are Andrew Eby and Kelly Maguire; Daniel Gelwicks and Spencer Curtis; and Miguel “Miggy” Gutierrez and Andrew Pagliara.

To begin the debate, each pair gave opening remarks, describing the main points of their respective platforms. Gutierrez and Pagliara broke from the norm, standing up to walk around, loosening their ties and removing their jackets.

While current SGA members, including Student Body President Bryan Wagner and Vice President Rob Dormish, attended the debate, the room was barely half-filled.

“I always love the debate,” Wagner said. “Since the candidates don’t know the questions beforehand, you get to see their true colors.”

Questions came from Kelli Imhoff, president of the Panhellenic Council, Tim Richer, co-editor-in-chief of The Villanovan and Sara Parr, next year’s Campus Activities Team president.

Justine Italiano, part of the election commission that exists independently of SGA, moderated the debate.

Topics that came under discussion were Dining Services, the men’s basketball ticket lottery, NovaFest and ways to increase student involvement on campus.

“Our platform is all-encompassing in terms of decreasing student apathy,” Curtis said of his and Gelwicks’ platform, which includes reformatting the Wildcat Newswire to make it easier for students to become aware of events held on campus.

Eby and Maguire proposed a new SGA committee focused on developing student leaders, which they believe will increase the amount of students who have a significant involvement with the University.

Gutierrez and Pagliara focused on the connections they have made to express their ability to bring real change.

Through their involvement with the Villanova Multicultural Students League, they hope to bring the benefits of the MSL lending library to more students.

Voting for student body president and vice president begins today at 12 p.m. and continues until 12 p.m. tomorrow online. The announcement of the winners is expected to be made tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Oreo. In the event that no ticket receives a majority of the vote, a run-off will occur next week.

SGA senator elections

Despite the record turnout at SGA’s senator information meetings, the candidate turnout for Senator positions this year was markedly low.

Many students attended the two informational sessions hosted by SGA, yet only one liberal arts student and three business students actually submitted petitions to qualify themselves as Senate candidates for their respective schools.

The SGA Senate traditionally includes three positions for business students, three for liberal arts and one each for sciences, engineering and nursing.In today’s election, the three business school senatorial candidates are running unopposed, as is the one liberal arts school candidate.

“I was very surprised at the low number of candidates for this year’s Senate races,” Tom Mogan, director of student development, wrote in an e-mail. “We had an excellent turnout for the information meetings and I met with many students individually but, somehow, it did not translate into a sufficient number of candidates.”

“We were especially proactive in our communication with the student body this year, so the low number of candidates was particularly surprising,” Wagner said.

This year SGA publicized the position in the basketball lottery e-mails, the Wildcat Newswire and flyers around campus.

They contacted the deans of each school, and for the first time, sent a mass e-mail to all first year, sophomore and junior students.

“We plan to follow up with those who showed an initial interest but did not follow through with the process to see if any consistent patterns emerge, Mogan wrote. “We will evaluate this data and re-examine the petition process to see what changes can be made for next year.”

Due to the empty positions, the incoming student body president and vice president will have the unique opportunity to appoint senators to fill the two empty liberal arts positions and the sciences, engineering and nursing positions.

“It was disappointing,” Wagner said. “But at the same time, it’s a great opportunity to fill the senatorial positions with some really qualified students.”