Student Government Association (SGA) President and Vice President candidates Hannah Niederman ’23 and Maddy Bayzaee ’23 formally conceded from the race for SGA’s highest positions at tonight’s candidate forum. The pair stepped out of the race on the condition that Andy Nelson ’23 and Michael Paredes ’22, the only opposing candidates, agree to work to fulfill a list of demands put forward by Niederman and Bayzaee.
An edited of demands can be found at the end of this article.
The race for President and Vice President is now uncontested ahead of the school wide election on Friday. Coordinator positions for Volunteer Network (VN), Diversity Initiatives Support Committee (DISC) and Political Awareness Committee (PAC) remain as contested races.
The Olaf Messenger caught up with both candidate pairs following Monday night’s forum.
“Maddy and I are both super involved on the campus for this year and even increasing our involvement for next year, and one of the things that we realized is that the time commitment and the level at which you have to commit to SGA is something that we just could not emotionally or time-wise handle,” Niederman said. “We wanted to be honest with ourselves and honest with everyone that would be voting for us or even thinking about our candidacy, and that’s part of the reason that we chose to make this agreement with Michael and Andy.”
“We really wanted to make sure that the public knew where we were at, and that we were conceding the election to Andy and Michael and that the demands were public so that they can be held accountable,” Bayzaee said. “I hope that they’re published in this article so that the student body can see and recognize whether or not Michael and Andy are sticking to their promise. And please know this is not the last of Hannah and Maddy. We will be making noise.”
Nelson and Paredes also provided comment to the Messenger following Niederman and Bayzaee’s concession.
“I was surprised to say the least. I’m really enthusiastic and excited for what’s to come though,” Nelson said.
“I like to see that the St. Olaf camaraderie spirit is still very much alive,” Paredes said. “I’m glad to have ran against Hannah and Maddy, and I look forward to being able to work with Hannah and Maddy in the future. So very, very shocking news but very happy outcome.”
Demands presented to Nelson and Paredes by Niederman and Bayzaee:
- Expansion of the power of BORSC with the ultimate goal of having a student voting member of the Board of Regents as a goal for the next few years and a staff member on the BOR as soon as possible
- Be 100% in support of immediate divestment, advocating directly with admin while supporting CJC’s goals
- Work to ensure transparency with the Capital Investment Fund, with expense receipts
- Supporting the new programming working group and engaging in a renewed focus on increasing election participation
- Integrate goals of the taskforce to confront structural racism into SGA goals
- Maintaining BIPOC faculty and staff as a top priority
- Helping to create a new protest policy/supporting the working group
- Students should not have to get their protests approved
- Instituting a week zero compost training
- Prioritizing mental health and disability advocacy by working to secure TimelyCare for at least 2021-2022, if not making it a permanent part of Olaf services
- Additionally working with establishing either a disability advocacy senator, or consulting with the office of DAC
- Working with SIRC and/or interfaith fellows to adapt the campus to be religiously inclusive with a focus on ensuring religiously inclusive caf options
- Making sure senators are accountable to BIPOC constituents, with accountability check-ins
- Welcoming the voices of student activists openly and honestly”
Coverage of the SGA election is ongoing.