Special Election 2022: Tyler Cullen, Candidate for Senator

Tyler Cullen is an idealistic and motivated candidate to represent the Class of 2022 in the Student Senate. Calling for accountability and transparency within SGA, as well as an increase in volunteerism and civic engagement, Tyler is confident that the upcoming term can “be the best year yet for our class”. Tyler hopes that if elected, he can help the Sophomore Class Council to “be vocal and visible, and we’re going to have a full roster of officers that really care about the people they represent.”

Photo courtesy of Tyler Cullen

Although Tyler has many ideas when it comes to being a leader for his class, he explained that none of that leadership would be possible without the input of his peers. Students approaching and informing him of their concerns and issues is how he hopes to be a representative and effective Senator. One way he suggested that the class council could more effectively communicate would be to create a new position within their administration; a position Tyler referred to as the “Constituent Outreach Chair”. This position, as Tyler envisions it, would “allow us to streamline electronic communication and provide for a dialogue on all issues, big and small.”

When asked whether or not Tyler had heard of any issues from his peers thus far, he responded by saying: “I’ve spoken to many who are aggravated about wait times in Davison. Obviously, student government can’t make hiring and operational decisions, but I hate the idea of doing nothing because it is a valid concern.” Tyler went on to say, “I’m very interested in looking at some specific data about activity levels throughout the day and brainstorming with Dining Services management to see if there’s a solution to be found.”

Tyler also took the opportunity to talk about events he would like to see the sophomores host. He suggested that rather than traditional entertainment style or fundraising events held on campus, the Class of 2022 should utilize its large size to participate in service-oriented events. He said, “that’s a great deal of manpower that can be put to good use for worthy causes.” One issue faced by Class Councils every year is how exactly to motivate those large numbers of students to engage with SGA and their coordinated events. Tyler optimistically said, “I hope to see record levels of student participation and I expect that we will all be aggressively trying to get more people involved.”

Tyler feels he is the person who can accomplish this ambitious goal, due to his prior involvement in high school organizations as well as his position as a NHIOP Ambassador. Serving as the Student Representative to the School Board his Senior year in high school, Tyler’s job was to represent the needs and interests of his peers while organizing and planning events as a part of his Student Council. This experience, he feels, will serve him well in the Senate and as a member of the Class Council; where he will be responsible for planning and executing events similar to those he has done in the past. 

Tyler is one of two candidates running to represent the Sophomore class in the Student Senate. Voting will be held Monday and Tuesday in Davison and CShop.

Special Election 2022: Kevin Chrisom, Candidate For Vice President

In the upcoming special election for the Class of 2022, Kevin Chrisom is the sole candidate for Vice President. Kevin, an Executive Board Member for the Saint Anselm College Republicans, NHIOP Ambassador, and political science major says he’s excited to fill the vacant role of Vice President. 

Kevin’s main goals are to increase Sophomore participation and engagement on campus, and educate students about the organization and importance of SGA. He highlighted the fact that the Sophomore class is currently the largest class on campus, something he believes to be a unique advantage the Class Council should take advantage of.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Chrisom

When commenting on the special election to fill a vacant Senate seat, Kevin said that he had made a good relationship with both candidates and was looking forward to working alongside the winner of that election regardless of the results. He suggested that the best way to accomplish their goals as a council would be to unify around a singular goal and work diligently to complete it. He also took the opportunity to comment on President Gina Gagliardi’s leadership, noting “Gina does an effective job as our class president”, and he expects it to be a good year. 

When asked about his qualifications for the position, Kevin responded by saying that he had a great deal of experience in student government from high school, as well as being a leader within the current clubs and organizations he’s apart of. Kevin is confident in his ability to “jump in and lead”, and when questioned about his prior time commitments he said he was not worried at all, and that in fact, he had already begun planning for the transition. 

As a second-year college student, Kevin said that he has had time to identify issues on campus and that in fact, some students had mentioned some of their concerns to him during his campaigning. Some of those concerns included efficiency within Davison hall at mealtimes, extending intervisitation hours, and increasing campus safety.

One event Kevin hopes to spearhead as the Vice President of the Class of 2022, is a town-hall, forum style event with College President Joseph Favazza. An idea which has floated around multiple groups on campus, including the Student Senate, Kevin said that he believes this would be “a home-run”. 

Kevin hopes to be an engaging representative of his class and said that “I take voters and constituents comments to heart […] they should be comfortable knowing they have a VP who will listen to them and fight for them”. When asked what had motivated him to run for the position, Kevin said that he had been considering a Senate run at the end of his Freshman year, but had decided to wait. He said he had decided to stay behind the scenes, build relationships, and learn about SGA before running for election. When the opportunity arose at the beginning of the year, however, Kevin decided “I think it’s time for me to use my experiences and the relationships made here to put myself where I need to be”

Kevin Chrisom is running for Vice President of the Class of 2022. Voting will be held Monday and Tuesday in Davison and CShop.

Gagliardi ’22 Elected President

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Gagliardi ’22 at the debate held in Dominic Hall on the eve of the election. (Photo by Kenny Otis ’22)

Gina Gagliardi ’22 has been elected President of the Class of 2022 over Sean Bentley ’22, David Chairez ’22, and Trevor Nelson ’22. Gagliardi galvanized her supporters throughout the race by approaching each issue with a calm head and even reaction. She stressed building a consensus in deciding how to address issues, rather than being drowned out by “a few loud voices.”

Her election is notable given that she was not an impassioned advocate for the school providing contraceptives or for expanding intervisitation hours. It is possible that supporters of those issues were split among the other three candidates, or that Gagliardi’s emphasis on going through the proper channels to enact change won the day.

In the night before voting began, the rumors about Cake-gate began to change the dynamic of the race. Gagliardi confronted her opponent, Bentley, about the issue directly and while he denied the allegations, it is likely that he lost some votes as Gagliardi gained favor. Of course, she also worked hard to win, knocking on doors in Dominic Hall and Joan of Arc Hall in an effort to speak with as many voters as possible.

The freshman class also elected Brendan Joyce ’22 as vice president and Joshua Pratt ’22 as secretary. The four senators will be Matthew Baumgartner ’22, Jackson Peck ’22, Aidan Pierce ’22, and Kate Shubert ’22.

Gagliardi will become the third female President of a class currently at Saint Anselm College, joining Meg Russo ’19 and Julie Sullivan ’21. She was not immediately available for comment upon request.

Meet the Candidates: Aidan Pierce ’22, Senate

Aidan Pierce ’22 is running for SGA Senate. (Photo courtesy of Pierce)

Aidan Pierce comes to Saint Anselm after a lot of hard work. He’s been raised by a single father, whom he cares for deeply, and from an early age accepted that getting a job and helping support the family was just something you had to do. He says that his childhood, “taught me to respect where your dollar goes.”

To an extent, this respect for a dollar has influenced his run for the Student Government Association. Like Jackson Peck ’22, a fellow candidate for SGA Senate, Pierce believes that the College should be more transparent with its budget. He notes, however, that while he supports a more transparency, he does not believe that the budget is “malleable” for students. He argued that just because a student is paying the college doesn’t mean they have a consistent say in how those dollars are spent.

He firmly believes that Saint Anselm students should recognize that they “subscribed to a community” by enrolling at the College. With that comes a need to respect the tradition of the school.

Because of his respect for the history and values of the school, Pierce broke with his fellow Senate candidates on the controversial issue of contraceptives for students. He doesn’t believe that the school should be forced to distribute something that is clearly at odds with its values.

When asked where the line should be drawn between an open and diverse community and one that honors the teachings of the Catholic Church, Pierce created his own test. He would support groups, like T.E.D.A., that are “not offensive or antagonistic to the Catholic mission.” Pierce says he is a part of T.E.D.A., and he would have voted for the club’s approval had he been in the Senate last year.

Instead, Pierce is deeply concerned with the environment and intends to spend his time as a senator writing policies that makes campus greener and lessens its environmental impact. He believes he can make a lot of headway on the issue, bringing senators from all classes together to affect change.

“I feel like that’s going to be a universally agreed upon thing,” he said of his ideas for making the Hilltop more environmentally friendly. He hopes to bring composting to Davison Hall and improve access to recycling and trash disposal around campus.

In addition to pursuing a run for the Student Government Association, Pierce is a member of Ultimate Frisbee and College Republicans. He also has an off-campus job.

Voting is on Wednesday, September 19th and Thursday, September 20th.

Race for Class of 2022’s President Gets Ugly

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The candidates for the Class of 2022 president share a hug after a raucous debate. From left to right, Trevor Nelson, Gina Gagliardi, Sean Bentley, and David Chairez. (Photo by Kenny Otis ’22)

The candidates for President of the Class of 2022 gathered, along with about 35 of their classmates, in the basement common room in Dominic Hall this evening for an impromptu debate. The race for president has become the most heated campaign for the Student Government Association the Hilltop has seen in several years, with sharp barbs being traded and bitter campaigning being the dominant theme.

The debate was organized by Sean Bentley ’22, who is running for class president. Bentley was given the first opening statement and the final closing statement, as well as setting the date and time of the debate. The other three candidates were present as well, David Chairez ’22, Gina Gagliardi ’22, and Trevor Nelson ’22, although it is unclear if they all knew about the debate in advance. David arrived part-way through opening statements.

The first topics debated by the candidates were ones that have been discussed in The Hilltopper’s candidate profiles as well as the SGA-sponsored speeches: safe sex and intervisitation. Chairez and Nelson agreed that the College should play an active role in promoting safe sex on campus through providing contraceptives. Bentley applauded the practice of safe sex while lamenting the possible spending of student tuition dollars on purchasing contraceptives. He applied the logic the Supreme Court used in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) decision – you cannot force someone to purchase a product in direct violation of their deeply held religious beliefs. Gagliardi countered that this kind of policy discussion was the job of the SGA Senate, not the class president.

On the topic of intervisitation, Bentley, Chairez, and Nelson all agreed that the policy should end, while Gagliardi said that she wanted to take “everyone’s voices” into account when making decisions, adding that she had spoken to some members of the Class of 2022 who said that they liked intervisitation.

Bentley theorized that Saint Anselm College was losing potential students to schools like SNHU and UNH because of the intervisitation policy but did not provide any evidence to support the claim. Nelson also spoke about the need for such a change to come through the SGA Senate rather than the class president.

Asked about fundraisers, the candidates each presented a plethora of ideas to blend class unity with fundraising. A popular idea is a fair or carnival, which would bring in the Greater Manchester community, although there was controversy over whose idea it was.

Bentley presented it as his idea but Chairez countered and said that he first proposed it at SGA-sponsored speeches. Gagliardi proposed a scavenger hunt and a game night while Nelson suggested a class-wide game of manhunt or other night-time games. A follow-up question from The Hilltopper about how these events would actually raise money for Junior Formal and the Senior Package was ignored by the moderator.

The most contentious moment of the night, undoubtedly, centered around “Cake-gate” – the scandal that has consumed the race. The Hilltopper has been pursuing this story for nearly a week and has spoken to several sources about it. Bentley was going around Dominic Hall the evening before the SGA-sponsored speeches, giving out cake to potential voters. When he encountered Gagliardi giving cookies out to voters, a piece of cake that was in his hand ended up on another student, Matt, who is a friend of Gagliardi. In the debate, Gagliardi said that the cake was clearly thrown at her and Matt “took the bullet” for her, while Bentley said that it was gravity and his “need to go to the gym more.”

A separate source from the Class of 2022, speaking to The Hilltopper on a condition of anonymity over fear of retribution, said that Bentley had dropped the entire sheet cake on a classmate’s bed, picked it up after the icing fell onto the bedsheets, and proceeded to hand out the cake without apologizing to the student for ruining the bed or telling anyone it had fallen on the bed.

A post on Sean’s campaign Instagram (@seanforprez2022) with a picture of half a cake and a caption attacking his opponents for passing out candy and cookies as if they were “in 2nd grade” was taken down after Chairez mentioned the comment at the debate.

In a comment to The Hilltopper before the debate, Bentley said, “I categorically deny throwing cake at Ms. Gagliardi. It is completely outrageous that I am being accused of this. While I did pass at cake to the residents of Dominic Hall last week, I would never throw anything at anyone, which obviously includes Gina. This story is 100% [false] and it is clear that it is nothing but a distraction.” He continued, “My opponents refuse to debate me because they know we have the momentum heading into the election so they having else [sic] better to do than spread false rumors about me. Disgraceful!”

Kevin Chrisom ’22 is serving as Bentley’s campaign manager. After the debate, he told The Hilltopper that he thought “Sean did a very nice job. Unfortunately, the audience seemed to be a bit of a distraction but it was all in good fun.” He said that he was with Bentley when the cake was being passed out and “[Sean] did not throw cake at anyone,” calling Gagliardi a liar, and insisted that his candidate “never physically took a piece of cake and threw it.”

Chairez said that the debate “was great” and the turnout shows that “our freshman class care[s] about what we have to say to improve our lives here at St. A’s.” On the matter of Cake-gate, David said that he doesn’t “believe Gina is a liar. I feel I can take her word over Sean’s because Sean has called me and Gina out, he has disrespected our campaigns…What I’ve heard from other people is that it did happen.”

Gagliardi said that the debate was “definitely a wild environment but each candidate had an opportunity to display their views.” When told about Chrisom’s comments, Gagliardi offered a brief response, “That’s really interesting because they never could give a clear explanation as to…how the cake ended up on Matt.”

Nelson could not be reached for comment immediately after the debate.

As Election Eve turns into Election Day, voters in the Class of 2022 will have to make up their minds. John Tobin ’22, a nursing major, attended the debate tonight. When asked by The Hilltopper for whom he planned to vote, his response was simply, “I honestly don’t know.”

While several students were seen sporting David Chairez for President stickers after the debate, it seems the race is anyone’s for the taking.

Michael Rosen ’22 also attended the debate. He told The Hilltopper that he thought the debate went okay. He continued, I think the moderator didn’t let the audience ask enough questions. I felt like it was very controlled.” He was disappointed that the audience was only allowed to ask two questions. Rosen said he went into the debate undecided and left even more undecided, saying that he “had to do some thinking now after finding out that Sean threw a piece of cake.”

Polls are open Wednesday, September 19th and Thursday, September 20.

Meet the Candidates: Brendan Joyce ’22, Vice President

Brendan Joyce ’22, right, with his sister, Rowan ’19, left. (Photo courtesy of Joyce)

The first question of the interview nearly stumped Brendan Joyce. When asked to name his favorite book, the candidate for freshman class vice president was overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless possibilities of books he’d consumed in his 18 years. He finally settled on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, confirming it was a “great book!”

He’s the 10th member of the Joyce family to come to Saint Anselm College. His sister, Rowan ’19, is known for her drawing talent, but Brendan has his own talent. He’s a guitar player and singer whose go-to is “Self Control” by Frank Ocean.

Being familiar with Saint A’s hasn’t stopped Joyce from having some big ideas about the college’s future. He has some specific policy goals, like extending intervisitation an extra hour on weekdays. It seems to be the proposal most likely to succeed, he says, because desk workers are already working the 11-12 hour on weeknights.

Joyce has joined other freshmen SGA candidates in calling for more trash bins on campus. Increased access to trash bins is an issue that SGA has long thought about addressing, but it has been repeatedly stymied by the cost of the project. The bear-resistant trash cans on campus are expensive.

On the issue that has generated buzz throughout the freshman class, access to contraceptives, Joyce admitted he doesn’t know where he stands. He made clear he “doesn’t want to go against the student body” but admitted that starting off their careers at Saint Anselm by asking for easy access to contraceptives may not be the best first impression for the members of the Class of 2022. He says he’s happy to let Kate Shubert ’22, candidate for Senate, lead the charge on the issue and serve in a supporting role.

Before running, Joyce thought about how he could best serve his class. He originally intended to run for class president, but he believes he’ll be a better fit as vice president because of the role’s focus on policy issues. In addition to intervisitation and trash cans, Joyce is hoping to bring air conditioners to common spaces in dormitories around campus.

Joyce’s big goal is bringing a fountain to campus. He’s ready to lead the charge on fundraising, and he’s already got a design in mind: a Saint Anselm statue in the middle of a pool with water streams shooting into the base. Don’t worry though, he was careful to mention that the water would not stream over the statue.

His most controversial position, however, may be that he shies away from the buffalo chicken at C-Shop. He says it just hurts his mouth sometimes.

Voters in the freshman class will have to weigh Joyce’s big ideas and decide whether to elect him their vice president. There is one other student running for the position.

Brendan’s opponent, Tyler Cullen ’22, did not return The Hilltopper’s request for an interview.

Voting is Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20.

Meet the Candidates: Jackson Peck ’22, Senate

Jackson Peck ’22 is running for SGA Senate. (Photo courtesy of Peck)

Showing up to the interview in a Ringelstein for Senate t-shirt, Jackson Peck wears his liberal ideas on his sleeve – literally. His favorite book is Our Revolution by Bernie Sanders and, like the former presidential candidate, he feels like those with the power should be more transparent. Sanders was talking about the billionaires on Wall Street. Peck is talking about the administrators on the first floor of Alumni Hall.

“I know as a senator I don’t have any real authority to craft the budget,” Peck said. “What I do want though is more transparency…” He wants more updated budget information publicly accessible to the student body, saying that few things are as important as students knowing where their money goes.

It’s a big goal, but Peck is confident that senators from the Class of 2022 will be able to make a real impact because they are unified on the important issues affecting their class and the school. He pointed to Kate Shubert’s proposal for bringing contraceptives to campus as one such issue, noting that all of the candidates are on the same page when it comes to the issue.

Peck came for the Transitions program and pointed to the fact that students took a two-hour alcohol course where they were taught to “maximize their buzz.” While Saint Anselm College may be willing to address underage drinking, it remains unwilling to acknowledge premarital sex.

As Peck explained, he received a 15-minute sex education course while at Transitions. Sex education at orientation was even more wanting, Peck said. The class was shown the “tea video” that addresses sexual assault and another longer movie about a domestic abuser who kills his girlfriend.

According to Peck, he wasn’t the only one who was surprised by this. He and his friends, including those running for Senate with him, talked about it more before he decided to follow up. When he went to Health Services, he was told there was no access to contraceptives.

While he knows it is an uphill battle, Peck thinks it’s important for the Student Government Association to take on the issues students care about. He noted that there was plenty of time for smaller, less important issues. For example, he says, the SGA spent their opening meetings discussing uniforms. Peck showed an excitement to address real policy issues, like transparency, sexual education, and recycling.

Peck has wasted no time getting accustomed to Saint Anselm. When he’s not campaigning you can find him at a College Democrats meeting or eating a buffalo chicken calzone at c-shop.

Peck is one of four candidates for Senate in the freshman class. They are running for four open Senate seats.

Voting is Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20.

Meet the Candidates: Sean Bentley ’22, President

Sean Bentley ’22, seen here in his iconinc fedora, is running for class president. (Photo by Nick Fulchino ’19)

Sean Bentley is a Politics major from Milton, Massachusetts, a town about 5 miles south of Boston. He can be identified around campus as the young man with the fedora, which he has made his calling card during the campaign. He was twice named Most Likely to Be President of the United States and believes that it is a strong example of his leadership skills, as is the successful backpack and school supply drive he organized in high school.

One of the main jobs of the Class President, he said, is “to keep order and keep a fun attitude and motive people when times are low.” He cited his high-level of personal organization and his propensity towards observation as keys to his being a successful class president.

He’s running for president because he believes he can “make more of an impact there than anywhere else.” The largest plank of Sean’s campaign platform is reform to the College’s policy of intervisitation. He believes that the policy needs to be rolled back gradually over an extended period of time, beginning with the beginning of intervisitation hours two hours earlier and ending two hours later each evening and culminating with the end of the policy. He acknowledges that this would be a big change and said, “I do want to discuss it in a committee, such a radical change, and start off small before we go big.” He argues that there are several reasons to alter the intervisitation policy, “There are some people who need comfort and companionship. I think it’s an antiquated policy. The Catholic Church itself is reforming and I think it’s time we’ve reformed.” Sean said he plans to work with the vice president and the class senators to implement these changes.

To build unity among the class and raise funds for Junior Formal, senior package, and other expenses, Sean has a few ideas. One is to use the resources of Dining Services to host bake sales to raise funds for the class. Another is to have a karaoke night in the Coffee Shop, similar to those that are put on by Orientation Leaders during the first-year Orientation Program, to foster a spirit of camaraderie among the class. Sean also proposed a “fair that could attract some non-St. A’s students and bring more money to campus” as well as attract the larger Manchester community to campus.

Sean pointed to the renowned Department of Politics and the NHIOP as deciding factors in his choice to come to Saint Anselm College. He also spoke highly of Dining Services, saying “I’m…a big foodaholic as well, so, considering St. A’s has one of the top 8, top 10 food programs in the country, that was a big factor.”

Saint Anselm College is only about an hour-and-a-half from his home, so it’s close enough to be “local” while still retaining its independence. His favorite order at the Coffee Shop is orange sherbet ice cream with a Raspberry Lime Rickey with Sierra Mist.

If you pass Sean on campus, he is sure to raise his fedora and say his catchphrase, “hat’s off to you.”

Voting is Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20.