Beyond the Talk: SGA leaves a lot wanting

(UPDATE: It appears the ticket of Christian Hill and Ashley Epperson won the vote, according to the university’s website, but Hill has been disqualified, leaving Epperson to assume the presidency. More on this story as it develops.)

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By the time you read this, you should know who was elected our next Student Government president. Well, maybe.

It’s actually very possible that by the time you read this, you still won’t know who your elected student representatives in SGA are.

Hopefully, we’ll have information for you online, but that remains to be seen. We can’t predict the future.

In the last two issues, we’ve reported on the current problems with SGA’s transparency, marketing and visibility to the student body. Even the debates proved that students were also beginning to wonder who their representatives were and what, exactly, they were going doing for them next year.

You’d think they’d get a clue, work their campaigns right and do as many interviews as humanly possible. But, instead, they’ve practically vanished from the limelight after the debates last Monday.

During the debates, candidates competing for virtually every position said transparency and visibility were their main concerns. However, their actions spoke differently, which raises serious questions about how they will execute on their stated policy objectives. Namely: If you can’t even answer your own email or social media accounts regarding the workings of your campaign positions, how can you facilitate greater promotion of SGA’s objectives on a university level?

Three emails were sent to the candidates asking for 10 to 15 minutes to conduct interviews prior to the elections. We had about five questions prepared. Short and sweet. We’re all busy students as well, so we understand.

The first email was sent on April 2 to Christian Hill, George Avery and Andrew Whyte, the three presidential candidates. The second was sent out on April 5, the third on April 8.

But after multiple failed attempts to contact the presidential candidates, we were only able to get a hold of George Avery, though that was more out of luck than co-operation.

We hit the streets, and it was only after a chance encounter with Avery that we were able to get him to grant us an interview.

We weren’t so lucky with the other candidates.

Christian Hill did respond to the first email—once—and never responded after that.

We tried getting in contact with him through his fellow SGA officers twice but that wasn’t successful either.

Andrew Whyte never responded to any of the emails sent to him, nor was he seen on campus.

During the debates, Whyte was very explicit in saying he wanted SGA to be more visible and transparent.

“The past administration had a Town Hall meeting, which most people said was the only time they have heard about SGA,” Whyte said at the first debate. “As president, it would be my duty to make sure students know about SGA and its purpose.”

Three emails later, he still had nothing to say. At least to us, that is.

For three potential candidates that went on and on about transparency and raising the visibility of SGA on campus, it seems very odd they were unable, or perhaps unwilling, to communicate with the student newspaper — arguably one of the best ways to discuss their platforms and plans for next year.

If visibility and transparency were their main concern, shouldn’t they have jumped at the first opportunity to reach the students?

But, putting all of that aside, it seems even this year’s Election Commission, an organization technically supposed to be independent of SGA, was plagued with the same disorganization and failure to communicate.

A prime example of this was the planning of the joint SGA-Signal debate a few weeks ago. Though the current president, executive vice president and SGA administrative staff knew about plans with the paper to collaborate over the debate since June, even tentatively agreeing to recommend a co-sponsorship, communication from the folks actually in charge of organizing the debate was non-existent.

Over a time period beginning just before the beginning of the Election Committee’s term in November all the way to the day of the last debate, April 1, the chair of the committee, Jodie-Ann Johnston, ignored no less than eight emails regarding the planning and overall structure of the debate.

Throughout the whole five-month ordeal, appointments were missed, emails were completely ignored and plans were continually delayed. Quite honestly, it’s a miracle the debate even happened at all.

Though it might be argued that some of the blame can be assigned to the multiple adviser transitions the organization suffered this year, ultimately the repeated failures of student leaders at the highest levels of the organization must suffer some reproach as well.

After exchanging multiple emails on Monday with Tiffany Butts, the administrative assistant of SGA in charge of overseeing the Election Commission, Butts said she would have the election results by 6 p.m. that evening, as long as we didn’t break the news until they announced it Tuesday morning. Fair enough and not uncommon.

But when we called the SGA office, Adriana Macchione, the current vice president of academic affairs, answered. She said Butts left earlier in the day because she was sick but left without any means of releasing the election results once they became available.

Then 6:30 p.m. came around, just before press time, and we still did not have the election results. We sent Butts two more emails trying to find out what happened, but we still didn’t get a reply. They’ve had the weekend to tabulate the results, after all.

But even with all these issues that seem to have plagued SGA throughout the year, it is still possible for the organization to fix these problems. They just need to get their act together and rise to the occasion.

So here’s to new beginnings. Good luck.


  1. Since Christian Hill has been disqualified, his “TEAMIMPACT” candidates who won should not qualify. A new election should be held.

  2. I feel as though you guys have a personal problem with SGA in general. You do nothing but attack its candidates, attack its transparency, attack its policies and procedures, and attack its credibility. You guys have no kind of journalistic integrity. What are you hoping to accomplish? Do you feel left out? What is the purpose of your irrational and aggressive approach to sharing Georgia State issues with Georgia State students.

  3. I have nothing to do with the Signal. Christian Hill campaigned on the Team Impact ticket. People who voted for Hill, voted for his running mates. Every team impact won. But Hill has been disqualified. The public does not know the reason. Because Hill campaigned with multiple running mates under Team Impact, a redo of this election is a must to ensure a fair election.

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