The Student Government Association (SGA) of Colgate University held elections within the Senate body for the position of Speaker Tuesday, September 24. Sophomore Wynter Schnell won the election, assuming the position of Speaker for the semester. The following day, Schnell stepped down from the position. During the following Senate meeting October 1, the Senate held a reelection, electing Senior and veteran Senator Tommy Riccio for the position. 

In an email to the Senate and members of the Executive, Schnell explained his withdrawal from the Senate Speaker position. According to Schnell, he felt he was unable to fulfill his duties as Speaker.

“I can’t achieve the things I am committed to this semester and be the best Speaker for you guys,” Schnell said. 

Riccio spoke to his motivation to run for the Speaker position.

“One thing that drove me to run was that we’re at a real crossroads with the new constitution and restructuring as well as having a lot of new faces and presences,” Riccio said.

Senator and former Senate Speaker Ben Becker ’21, ran in both elections for Senate Speaker. Becker reflected on his previous experiences as a candidate for Senate Speaker, for which he was elected in the Fall 2018 semester.

“Not since my freshman year, the first semester, was there any competition for Speaker,” Becker said.

Regarding the Speaker position, Becker said that it is a critical role requiring large commitment. 

“The Speaker [role] is a lot of responsibility. You’ve got to go to a ton of meetings, you’ve got to speak the administration, trying to get them to speak in front of the Senate, it’s a lot of work,” Becker said.

The topic of transparency has emerged within SGA as a result of the elections, which SGA did not make known to the student body. However, the most recent meeting featuring Riccio’s win is on SGA’s YouTube channel.

The preamble of the latest SGA constitution, effective as of September 16, details that SGA should “be accountable to us, transparent in its initiatives, policies, and methods, and continuous from year to year, senator to senator, and executive to executive.” 

Senator Cole Boquist, class of 2021, said that transparency within the SGA needs improvement. 

“I know, maybe not everyone always cares the most about what’s going on in SGA, but there is still a portion of students who really do care, and want to know what we’re doing, and I think we owe it to them to get the word out about what’s going on in SGA,” Boquist said.

Junior Emily Brew said that to further engage with the student body, SGA should dedicate more time to developing communication with the Colgate community.

“I remember seeing the email about them [SGA] now posting all of their meetings on YouTube and I think that was a good step toward transparency, but the average Colgate student isn’t going to sit in and watch the meetings. We just don’t have that kind of time and I think when something big like that [SGA Senate Speaker election] happens, it’s definitely their responsibility to communicate that to the student body,” Brew said.

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