Meet the Candidates: A Guide to This Year’s SGA Executive Board Candidates

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Published April 2, 2017
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The Montclarion
The SGA candidates for president – Yousef Al-Khudairi, George Koutsouradis and Brian Dolan – take on each other in a debate on March 30. Photo by Dan Falkenheim
The SGA candidates for president – Yousef Al-Khudairi, George Koutsouradis and Brian Dolan – take on each other in a debate on March 30. Photo by Dan Falkenheim

The SGA candidates for president – Yousef Al-Khudairi, George Koutsouradis and Brian Dolan – take on each other in a debate on March 30.
Photo by Dan Falkenheim

The Student Government Association (SGA) executive board candidates, who will be at the helm of the SGA’s $1.7 million operating budget next year, debated on March 30 ahead of the 2017 SGA election. The positions on the ballot are president, vice president, treasurer and secretary, and here’s what you need to know about the candidates ahead of next week’s election:

President | Vice President | Treasurer | Secretary

President

Koutsouradis, Al-Khudairi and Dolan each talk about their plans if elected as SGA president. Photo by Dan Falkenheim

Koutsouradis, Al-Khudairi and Dolan each talk about their plans if elected as SGA president.
Photo by Dan Falkenheim

 

 

 

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George Koutsouradis
Major: Business administration with concentration in marketing and management.

Platform: “I promise to devote the utmost attention to provide opportunity to any and all undergraduate students that want to make a difference on this campus,” Koutsouradis said on HawkSync. “[…] It’s time the student body truly understands their fullest potential and all that the SGA has to offer them.”

How can you ensure that the SGA properly represents the students, given the organizations 501c3 status?

“I want everyone to understand that being a 501c3 nonprofit organization does not mean we cannot talk about politics in an educational manner,” Koutsouradis said at the debate. “[…] it is only fair and appropriate that the SGA recognizes all students and keeps a level playing field by allowing all students to say their peace in a democratic way so that nobody feels that they are no longer having a safe space being compromised.”

What should the president’s role be in the SGA legislature?

“If elected president, I would take a more challenging approach to that involvement in the meeting,” Koutsouradis said. “Not to push my own agenda, but rather to challenge the legislature to make sure that what they are doing and the decisions they are making are truly what is best for all students or at least a majority of the students here at MSU.”


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Yousef Al-Khudairi

Major: Business administration with concentration in management and information systems.

Platform: “The SGA is an organization that is of the students, for the students, by the students. […] my whole platform is giving back to the MSU campus community,” Al-Khudairi said. “We are all brothers and sisters, Red Hawks together. I want everyone to stand in solidarity against hate. I want us to be more inclusive.”

Al-Khudairi also emphasized that he wants the SGA to tackle issues beyond appropriations. Al-Khudairi mentioned improving sustainability at Montclair State and dealing with the issue of food waste.

How can you ensure that the SGA properly represents the students, given the organizations 501c3 status?

“We are a public university, so engaging in political acts would be pretty much a no-no,” Al-Khudairi said. “But that doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to have opinions. Students should feel free to voice opinions in safe spaces in an open forum.”

Al-Khudairi added, “Because the president is the voice of the students, if the students really request and would like to see a certain politician […] while I cannot personally endorse or make sure that person does happen, I can at least push it through to administration. That way you’re still non-biased, you’re not enforcing your political agenda.”

What should the president’s role be in the SGA legislature?

“Because we are an executive board and it is deemed with a certain level of status, we shouldn’t be pushing or enforcing our beliefs on the legislature,” Al-Khudairi said. “We should be talking, we shouldn’t be absent from the whole discussion. We should choose our words carefully and not create a form of bias.”


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Brian Dolan

Major: Business with concentration in finance.

Platform: “I want to start implementing programs where we can start getting more members of the student organizations to show up to [athletic] events,” Dolan said. “Other than that, I want to have more students show up to the SGA in general and to increase student involvement within the SGA process.”

How can you ensure that the SGA properly represents the students, given the organizations 501c3 status?

“Start implementing town hall meetings outside of the SGA where students can come and voice their opinions to legislators.” Dolan said. “Having these town hall meetings will bring more students out to bring their opinions to the SGA. But we can only really bring the ones that can be discussed. We can’t discuss all political matters.”

What should the president’s role be in the SGA legislature?

“I believe that as the president you should have a more outside look on things, but not voice that directly to the legislature,” Dolan said. “Limiting controversies is what really matters within the SGA meetings by having people who are knowledgeable enough to know that [a particular issue] isn’t something you should be talking about here, this [issue] is something that should have been discussed prior to this meeting.”

Vice President

James Clark is running unopposed for the position of SGA vice president. Photo by Dan Falkenheim

(Running unopposed) James Clark
Major: Business administration

“I think that recently the SGA has been working for itself,” Clark said. “As an organization, it’s been running to benefit the organization, not the organizations that it’s founded on. What I really want to do throughout my time if elected is I want to take the lens that the SGA sees this school through and I really want to change it. I want to make it for the students.”

Clark said he would accomplish this by adding purpose to the position of SGA legislator.

“Have the SGA take on matters that it generally hasn’t been. Things like the sanctuary campus bill are important things, honestly,” Clark said. “I think that they affect the campus community and I think that those are great things for the SGA to be looking at. The SGA is a lot more than appropriations. We have a committee for appropriations but the legislative meeting is not appropriations.”

Treasurer

A combination of two file photos of James Carolan (left) and Jason Liskoff (right), who are running for SGA treasurer.
Photo by Dan Falkenheim



*Disclaimer: James Carolan currently works for The Montclarion as its business manager.*

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Jason Liskoff

Major: Business administration with concentration in management
Experience: SGA legislator financial clerk, Student Life at Montclair (SLAM), general member, ambassador for undergraduate admissions.

Platform: “My biggest thing for my platform is student involvement,” Liskoff said. “I think student involvement starts with the programming that organizations here on campus offer. […] I’m a very ambitious person and if I’m elected I’d like to see hundreds of students go to the events here on campus.”

What changes would you make to budget allocation?

“Some of the changes I would like to make are to the book grant line,” Liskoff said. “I’d like to offer students the most money possible to give them money to help out with affording the cost of books for their classes. I would also like to increase the scholarship line. […] I would like to implement more money towards Greek leadership and the programming they offer.”

Liskoff added that he would look into reducing the yearbook line in the SGA budget as well as telephone expenses.


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James Carolan
Major: Business administration with concentration in finance.
Experience: Business manger of The Montclarion, founding sibling and former treasurer of Theta Delta Sigma, SGA legislator, current member of the SGA’s appropriations committee.

Platform: “I am running for Treasurer of the SGA to ensure that student fees are being appropriately and efficiently spent, while trying to revise financial processes to be more accommodating to organizations and Greek life.” Carolan said on HawkSync.

What changes would you make to budget allocation?

“A lot of the lines I was looking at were similar to Jason’s,” Carolan said. “Looking at reducing the yearbook line and increasing the Greek council line. One of the other lines that I would also look into is definitely increasing the SGA staff’s wages line due to market inflation.”

Secretary

A combination of two file photos of Karmyn Ramirez (left) and Michael Statile (right), who are running for SGA Secretary.
Photo by Dan Falkenheim

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Karmyn Ramirez

Major: Gender, sexuality and women’s studies

Platform: “As Secretary of the [SGA], I will be a voice for the voiceless and promise to use my platform to represent the needs of the students.” Ramirez said on HawkSync. “Throughout my time in the SGA, I have noticed how miscommunication negatively impacts both the SGA and the student body. I plan on reducing these issues by building stronger communication between the SGA and the campus community by acting as a liaison between the student body, the legislature and the executive board.”

Should the secretary be involved in political discourse during SGA legislative meetings?

“I definitely think the secretary should be involved, but also needs to understand when to take a step back,” Ramirez said. “If someone feels they aren’t comfortable speaking at an SGA meeting, I will then make it my obligation to represent the voice of that student, and talk at the meeting when needed.”

Ramirez added, “Providing clarification is fine, but legislators should be pushed to have most of the discourse throughout the SGA meetings.”


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Michael Statile

Major: Family and child studies with a concentration in family services

Platform: “I believe in a focus on S.T.E.E.L.: Steps Towards Empowering Emerging Leaders.” Statile said on HawkSync. “If elected, I would like to promote a better relationship between the entire student body and the Student Government Association by detailing what services are offered and that even though a student may not be part of an organization on campus, there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved and to make a difference.”

Should the secretary be involved in political discourse during SGA legislative meetings?

“When keeping record of the minutes of every meeting alongside the clerk, I believe that the secretary should be as unbiased as possible and not have as much input in the political discourse of the meeting.” Ramirez said. “For the reason being that you are supposed to keep as accurate of a record as possible of these meetings.”

Statile added, “you should be able to voice your opinion in debate and discussion, as Karmyn mentioned, if there is a bill, an organization, an event that you are passionate about.”

Both candidates agreed on the need to digitize more of the documents and move them onto an online platform like Google Drive.

The SGA election begins on April 3 and ends on April 5. Students will be able to vote on HawkSync or at any of the polling facilities on campus. A voting booth schedule is listed here, and visit HawkSync for additional information on the candidates.

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