By Stefan Keiser
INDIANA -- Craig Faish, vice-president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Student Government Association, ran unopposed in the April 11-12 SGA presidential election. What kind of leader will he be? He offered a glimpse during what was billed as a presidential debate in the HUB Susquehanna Room on April 2.
"I know things need changed, and how to change them," Faish said wearing a black suit and standing alone at the podium. "I have been part of the SGA for three years."
Faish said he knows the campus.
"I have tenure here," said Faish, a nursing major. "This is my fifth year, and I am familiar with the IUP community."
Faish said he would address apathy regarding student government. E-mail correspondence and "chalking" were good ways to inform students about SGA, he said.
"Communication is key," Faish said. "We are losing lots of SGA members. Work is needed to recruit fresh bodies."
The two biggest issues facing the SGA were minority involvement and student disengagement, Faish said.
Faish said he had no problem working with minorities. He added that SGA needs more minority members to make it more representative.
"I am striving to get representation for the total voice of the students," he said. "We're here to represent all students at IUP, not just the ones that show up."
Faish ended his 30-minute speech with an invitation to the 14 people in his audience to contact him if they had questions. However, repeated efforts to reach Faish following the event were unsuccessful.
SGA members said Faish has exhibited problems with managing his time in the past but has shown improvement.
"Craig had time-management issues," said SGA Secretary James N. Collins in an e-mail message. "But even a week into his presidency, he has shown major change and made SGA his top priority. I feel if he puts his time and dedication in this upcoming term, it will be incredible,"
SGA member Jessica E. Carson agreed.
"I was slightly skeptical at first," she said. "But since our beginning meetings he has proved to be a surprisingly organized and conscientious fellow."
Former 2005-2006 SGA President Nikki Norris said Faish failed to follow through on his ideas.
"From my past experience in working with Faish, I found him to be very enthusiastic about ideas," Norris said in an email. "But he lacked ambition in initiating and completing tasks."
Norris noted that she, like Faish, won the presidency in an uncontested election.
"In an organization that has suffered horribly from low participation and dedication in the past five years, it is difficult to find candidates willing to step up and run for the job," Norris said. "Presidency of SGA is exhausting, frustrating, and comes with few rewards, explaining why most individuals are not interested in it."
Norris' successor as president was Patrick Barnacle (senior, economics) and his running mate, Faish. The ticket won in a campaign wracked by disqualifications, confusion and write-in voting.
"The outcome was the Barnacle/Faish administration, and they did what they could, with what they had, where they were at," said Brandon Marree, SGA recruitment and retention officer and Elections Committee chair. "I have the utmost confidence in Craig as the new president of SGA. With his experience involving many different organizations here at IUP, he can only be an asset because he can reach a very wide audience," Marree said,
Outgoing SGA President Patrick Barnacle declined comment.
Stefan Keiser, a sophomore from Somerset, majors in Journalism.
Faish: Call Me, Email Me
At an April 2 public meeting, then-SGA presidential candidate Craig Faish invited students to contact him with their concerns.
Faish said he can be reached by phone at 724-840-5698 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Faish, who won his uncontested election April 12, will be sworn in this fall.