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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Flames of the Torch

A lack of transparency in SGI

Last week in the midst of Student Government Inc.’s executive board elections, students were abuzz on social media over potential negative campaigning among candidates.

Screen grabs obtained by the Torch show an opinion article featuring Junior Senator candidate Anthony Savino’s old tweets. Some used derogatory language. Another screen grab of purportedly the same website showed digital campaign posters of Junior-Senator elect Atem Tazi and the incoming representative for the College of Professional Studies, junior Larissa Kukapa. SGI President Chiara Miuccio told the Torch that Tazi and Kukapa told SGI that they did not sponsor any article or website.

SGI’s Elections Committee Chair Cooper Miqueli also told the Torch they “did not have evidence to determine that Atem and Larissa were either directly or indirectly responsible for negative campaigning.”

After hearing the buzz on campus, we moved quickly to get to the truth and put an end to any rumors on campus.

Now, nearly one week later, students have the story straight. But where was SGI last week when there was confusion about the candidates circulating on campus during their elections? Through word of mouth and social media, students discussed what they heard, but not once did SGI attempt to put an end to the negative talk publicly. Instead, the situation was taken care of quietly, and everyone was expected to return to business as usual.

SGI should have issued a statement clarifying what was true and what wasn’t.

The Torch contacted SGI about whether they planned on issuing a statement about the situation, and if the group has had to issue statements in the past on situations that caused confusion among the student body. Miuccio said she doesn’t recall a time during her years on the executive board has issued a statement. She said it isn’t something that the executive board has considered, and that she doesn’t believe it’s been done before.

We understand that SGI and the University are not always able to comment directly about situations involving students because of privacy laws. However, we think it’s irresponsible to allow easy-to-debunk rumors to fly about candidates and their campaigning–especially in an election as important as this.

At the very least, a statement saying they were investigating the matter would have been better than nothing. When it comes to information like this, there needs to be transparency between SGI and the student body.

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