O’Handley elected new SGA president

By Jessica Torrez-Riley and Jewel Della Valle

After two hours of contentious debate, the Student Government Association (SGA) elected Rogan O’Handley their next president.

A two-year member of the association and current vice president for student services, O’Handley beat out Allyson Savin, former executive vice president for student affairs.

The election for the six members of next year’s executive board was held last night during a Joint Senate in the Curry Student Center Ballroom. The vote was 37-20 with, one vote of “no confidence,” and two write-in votes for former president Bill Durkin.

O’Handley, a junior political science and criminal justice major, opened the debate saying a person’s leadership ability is shaped by his or her life experiences. He said his first call to leadership came when he was 10 years old and he “inherited a family” because his father passed away.

“Now, as a student at Northeastern, I have transposed those experiences,” he said. “I have seen the bottom and fought my way to the top.”

In her opening address, Savin, a junior international business and marketing major, said SGA needs a leader well-versed in what goes on around campus, not only from within the senate but outside it as well. She attributed her past two years away from the association, being a resident assistant and president of the Council for University Programs (CUP), as valuable experience that would make her a more effective president.

Despite Savin’s resolve, many senators questioned how knowledgeable she could be of the association’s current processes after having been absent for two years.

Savin responded that she left to further her Northeastern experiences and better understand student life.

“If the only thing you have to hold against me is that I haven’t been around this past year then ask yourself, is that enough?” she said. “I’ll tell you right now, I’m just as qualified. I have just as much passion.”

O’Handley received applause throughout the debate and little direct questioning.

After the election, Billy Haddad, vice president for financial affairs, said his experience working on the executive board with O’Handley was “not pleasant.”

He said during his year in office he was sworn at, forced out of his office and met with aggression by O’Handley. He said O’Handley made other vice presidents cry.

“His leadership style is perfect for the military, but absolutely disastrous for SGA,” he said. Haddad concluded that “his actions will harm the senate and campus life.”

After elections, Senator Allison Wyman said she supported O’Handley because of the “symbiotic relationship” between him and student government.

“SGA helped Rogan develop into the person he is now,” Wyman said. “His style of leading will be incredibly effective for student government next year.”

George Gottschalk IV was next elected executive vice president for student affairs by 11 votes. He held the position in spring 2004 before being suspended that summer for involvement with an illegal party.

Gottschalk, a middler economics major, has been a member of SGA since fall 2003, and is also a member of the Student Activities Board (SAB).

His opponents were Andrew Alperin, a freshman international business major, and Danielle Burckson, a middler political science major.

Gottschalk cited problems with the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) as his major concern.

As vice president for student affairs, Gottschalk said he will be able to build a greater organization as a whole.

Freshman MJ Paradiso, current assistant vice president (AVP) for academic affairs, ran unopposed for vice president for academic affairs. He was elected by 40 votes, with eight “no confidence” votes and three write-ins.

Sophomore Krystal Beaulieu was elected vice president for administration and public relations 33-18 over freshman senator Stephen Lavenberg.

Freshman Christopher Kelley, current AVP for financial affairs, ran unopposed for vice president for financial affairs. He was elected with 28 votes in favor, eight “no confidence,” and 12 write-ins.

Freshman Susan Dye, current AVP for student services, also ran unopposed for vice president for student services. She was elected with 34 votes in favor, nine “no confidence,” and one write-in.

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