2020-2021 Student Government Association executive board voted into office in unconventional election


Graphic: Dylan Abad

Brooke Reilly

The Student Government Association held its annual elections on Tuesday, April 21. With the Quinnipiac campus being closed, elections looked different in multiple ways this year. The election was only for the executive board and chief justice positions, as class elections will be held in the fall. Campaigning took place online, debates were held over Zoom in a town hall style and multiple candidates ran unopposed.

Polls were open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the results were sent to students via email at 8:47 p.m.

The results of the 2020-2021 SGA executive board elections are:

President Elect: Sophia Marshall  

Vice President Elect: Caroline Mello   

Vice President for Student Experience Elect: Nicholas Ciampanelli 

Vice President for Finance Elect: Barbora Hriňáková 

Vice President for Public Relations Elect: Jamien Jean-Baptiste  

Chief Justice Elect: Matthew Forcino

SGA executive board voter results breakdown, courtesy: SGA

Voter turnout was lower this year than in the past with the total number of voters being 1,291. All undergraduate students were encouraged to vote, but less than 20 percent of the student body participated in this year’s election.

This year is lower than past years and can be directly attributed to the current pandemic situation, the lack of in-person campaigning and fact that this election was only for six total positions, instead of the many class senator, special interest senator, and justice roles you’d typically see in a spring election, definitely impacts how many students vote,” Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for Campus Life Matt Kurz said. “The more campaigns taking place, the higher turnout will typically be, and we expect this fall’s election for all senator and justice candidates to bring the ‘final total’ number up closer to or above typical levels when combined.”

The SGA president, vice president for finance, vice president for public relations and chief justice positions each only had one candidate. Another candidate was originally in the race for vice president for finance but dropped on Monday night prior to the town hall.

To many students’ surprise, this is not the first time a candidate for president has run unopposed. 

“There have been other years when they’ve run unopposed,” Director of Campus Life for Student Centers & Student Involvement Erin Provistalis said. “In the last 10 years, it happened in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.”

Another thing to note about this election is that Marshall is the first female SGA president in over 15 years. Melissa Dudra, class of 2004, was the last female to hold the position of SGA president prior to now.

“Being the first female president in over 15 years is definitely an amazing feeling,” Marshall said. “But, while it is a cool statistic, I don’t want it to be what defines my presidency. What I want to define this term is the hard work and great things that not only this executive board is going to accomplish, but our senate as a whole. With that being said, I definitely don’t take this honor for granted, and I hope to do it justice.”

The students cannot meet in person to transition into their new roles due to the current situation with COVID-19, but Kurz said that the incoming and outgoing executive boards will work directly with each other to review the positions throughout the next few weeks prior to the end of the semester. All elected candidates will also receive a transition manual completed by the person in their positions currently.

The newly elected executive board will begin to completely take over their positions by the end of the semester, and class SGA elections will take place in the fall.