By Sarah Huffman
This past Thursday, the United Student Government (USG) passed a motion to refrain from using a secret ballot procedure except in situations of Pro Tempore, impeachment and special elections. The issue was brought up at last week’s meeting by Senator Dean Corrado, GSB ’19. He said that he wanted to get rid of the secret ballot so that USG could be as transparent as possible. The senate held a vote last week for the motion, but there were too many abstentions and the issue was tabled.
“I felt banning the secret ballot was a powerful way of establishing a culture of transparency for the year.” said Corrado. “More than anything, it was about setting the tone for how we would conduct business as a governing body.”
Various opinions were expressed as the issue was discussed. Vice President of Student Life Ashley Qamar, GSB ’20, said that sometimes a secret ballot is necessary for people to vote honestly, especially if there are other influences in the room. She said the motion does not change a lot of the voting process, and the organization should not change something that has already been working well. Corrado said that this decision is not permanent and can be revisited if need be.
The club Every Vote Counts (EVC) came to speak to the senate about its mission and plans for the year. Vice President of EVC Leila Witcher, FCRH ’20, explained that EVC is a non-partisan undergraduate-led organization that deals with voter apathy. She said that the club is committed to getting people to register to vote and sign up for absentee ballots through this election cycle, especially since midterm elections are coming up.
Executive Vice President Connor Sullivan, FCRH ’19, said he reached out to EVC because he ran for the executive ticket concerned about voter apathy, especially within this age group.
The Senate passed a motion to partner with EVC until it recieves club status. Sullivan said this decision means that USG will help EVC secure locations, advertising and co-programming.
Julia Gagliardi, FCRH ’19, a student fellow for Fordham Social Innovation Collaboratory, spoke to the Senate about Our Story 2018. Gagliardi said that Our Story is a live storytelling event where five student storytellers tell personal stories. She did an activity with the senate, asking them to write down “what makes you, you?” She encouraged members of the senate to apply to be a storyteller at their next event. Applications for Our Story are open until Sunday, Oct. 14.