The Student Association has entered a “beautiful” chapter in presidential politics, the organization’s new president-elect Langie Cadesca said after defeating Mark Anthony Quinn in a close contentious bout.
Winning by 85 votes in a Friday runoff contest, Cadesca and running mate Nick Pepe come May will serve as top officers in SA, a $2.6 million organization funneled mostly from the $110 per semester student activity fee.
Cadesca will be the second black female SA president in history behind current leader Jerlisa Fontaine. Pepe will be the second consecutive non-Phi Alpha Delta vice president since 2013.
“Now this has changed the atmosphere where people can say, ‘Well, I don’t need you all supporting me to win,'” Cadesca told reporters. “That’s what I’ve been telling people all the time: you don’t need to be associated with a specific group to think that you’re good enough.”
In a tweet, Anna Agnes, senator-at-large, mentioned that each candidate in the runoff was involved in a fraternity. Cadesca is president of Zeta Phi Beta and Pepe is part of Alpha Phi Omega. Unlike PAD, both groups haven’t had a heavy history in the organization.
Wtf is everyone’s obsession with my frat?!? All Presidential/VP candidates that ran are in a fraternity or sorority organization. Enough is enough with this BS https://t.co/E4H3Qvm0zg
— Future President (@annnagnes) March 30, 2018
The Lajara ticket centered much of their campaign around affiliations in the Quinn ticket, but never mentioned PAD by name. They fell out of the race last week after being defeated by over 2,000 votes.
In that contest, Cadesca and Pepe, the self-dubbed “ACE” duo, fell behind Quinn and Pepe last week between a three percent margin.
On the down ballot, Cadesca’s senate ticket was dominated by Quinn’s team, UAlbany United. Looking to win back seats, she hopes to put together a legislative ticket once again in the fall.
Leaders of both tickets met Thursday to pledge future collaboration regardless of the victor.
Sean Correia, a UAlbany United senator-elect, hopes to work between both branches next year to push advocacy efforts.
“We control the $2.7 million budget in the Student Association,” he said. “We need to make sure that works regardless of whoever wins.”
Cadesca and most of the senate have been at odds over conference spending. As chief of staff, she’s defended the SA’s controversial diversity conference trip in New Orleans in February. Held during Mardi Gras, the trip was lambasted for frequent Uber spending, along with transparency and oversight concerns.
In an interview after the election, Cadesca claimed that the senate’s frustration was biased. Senators had the opportunity to ridicule conference spending after last fall’s Washington D.C. trip, but choose Mardi Gras due to its proximity to the general election.
Hours after the election, Jarrett Altilio, senate chair, through Twitter called to slash the internal conference lines for 2018-19.
These allegations of “bias,” and frankly, the personal attacks levied at me and other members of my fraternity and Senate, are baseless, outrageous, and disgusting.
The misuse of money is not a “painted story.” It is real. And I want the students to know it.
— Jarrett (@jaltilio_) March 30, 2018
Despite tensions throughout SA, Pepe is confident both branches can coalesce under Cadesca’s administration.
“We can’t be on two different wavelengths and expect to progress and really do anything that the students deserve,” he said.
Beyond senate affairs, Cadesca and Pepe in the coming weeks hope to meet with executive board officials for insight.
Under her strategic plan, the executive board could be organized differently. She hopes to revive the academic affairs department and create an international affairs sub-department.
This article was last updated at 4:06 p.m.