The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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An Update from SGi

What is Next for Student Government in a Remote Campus
SGi President Matthew Macatula addresses the audience during a 2019 debate. TORCH PHOTO/ Spencer Clinton

SGi has hit a roadblock. What is normally their busiest semester has been cut down by the University’s coronavirus protocol. In the last week, the future of SGi elections, senior week and org congress have been changed by the executive board. Vice President Clyde Drayton provided an update to the Torch by email on March 16, in addition to President Matthew Macatula releasing a public statement, explaining what’s next for SGi as the University goes virtual.


All in-person floor meetings are canceled and they do not have intentions in hosting one. However, voting on urgent matters as an e-board will still occur through their own communicative means. If the matter concerns the assembly’s input, then SGi plans to forge a way to receive feedback and votes through online platforms. 


Organizational Congress, which was planned for Thursday, Mar. 19, is canceled as well, and student orgs will receive continuous updates from SGi through email. SGi is working with Campus Activities to confirm what the elections and transition for student organizations will entail.


As far as Student Government elections are concerned, the applications for the new executive board and college representatives have closed. SGi plans to send out a school-wide email regarding election and campaign information. The e-board ensures that all candidates will “have the proper communication channels to campaign and spread their message to the student body.” 


As for seniors, SGi is sending their condolences. As Macatula said in his statement, he “wished to give our seniors a proper send off.” They recognize the hardships the 2020 class is enduring, like the cancellation of the remainder of their last semester as well as the unknown future of commencement. “They’ve earned praise and celebration for completing their degrees and we just wish bright futures for them all,” Drayton said.


SGi’s board has seen criticisms and comments online about their response to the pandemic. A popular SJU-themed meme account, @dripomage, posted on Instagram saying how they pushed for petitions detailing options for pass/fail, graduation and housing, with a consistent response from the student body. The account reached out to SGi in an effort to help and claimed there was no response. @dripomage told the Torch “I was planning on writing about how their response to the pandemic has been disgusting as they only posted about it after being called out.” They also mentioned last year’s allegations of cheating during the e-board elections.


SGi responded in an email to the Torch, saying “It is important to note that SGi does not typically respond to inquiries made by anonymous social media accounts and any certainly not abuse or harassment from said anonymous accounts.” SGi also mentioned in the email that their “Instagram account is not set up to receive notifications from tags on private accounts or from accounts that we don’t follow” and they only follow “recognized student organizations, the personal pages of executive board members, and the personal pages of professional staff at the University.” 


In the public statement on their Instagram account (@sjusgi) posted March 16, Macatula writes that SGi was informed about the employee that had tested positive for COVID-19. He said that SGi is taking measures to prevent further spread of the virus and that “the University is doing its best in trying to be proactive,” like closing the University. Drayton said that SGi recognizes that relocating off campus or out of state and transitioning “into classes that are not well-suited for online instruction” is a hard endeavor. Because of this, they extend a helping hand and ask students to reach out if there are any issues SGi should be made aware of as “[they] are working closely with administration to navigate through this difficult and chaotic time.” SGi says they still want to be the place for student advocation, no matter the location. As stated by Macatula: “the campus has entrusted [them] to serve” the student body.


 For updates or concerns, students can visit or email [email protected].


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About the Contributor
Sophie Williams
Sophie Williams, Digital Editor
Sophie is a senior majoring in Photojournalism with a minor in Public Relations. She has held several positions including Staff Writer, Photographer, Assistant Features Editor, Co-Features Editor and Features Editor. Sophie is serving as the Digital Editor this year and hopes to revamp the Torch's digital presence. Some fun facts: Gossip Girl is her favorite TV show, she is an educator at lululemon Soho and her enneagram is Type 6. You can reach Sophie at [email protected].
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