Carr reflects on presidential term and vacancies

By Amethyst Martinez and Jay Roberson

For the first time in eight years, the Student Government Association presidential election is uncontested — a stark reality that current SGA President Naa’san Carr blamed on the “COVID class” of 2025. 

Along with all positions on the ballot being uncontested for the 2024-25 school year, the roles of vice president of student affairs and vice president of communications were left vacant. 

Carr, a senior political science major, said, “I’m disappointed because the university and student body deserve leadership that represents them and advances their student experience.”

He said that many juniors have not stepped up because a majority of their final years of high school were amid the pandemic. 

“They just aren’t as involved as the rest of the classes,” said Carr on the 2025 class. “They spent their junior year and senior year [of high school] in COVID, on laptops and Zoom.”


Carr explained the vacancies will be “very chaotic for the university,” as these roles are the ones to lead university meetings including students, faculty and staff members.

In an attempt to fill the vacancies, anyone who is interested in the positions can contact SGA and interview for it. 

“The [SGA] president will interview the candidates, go through the list and then appoint the best person for that position,” said Carr. “The interview process is new; we incorporated that this year.”

Though last year there were no vacancies during elections, when the school year started a majority of the senate left its positions.

“I spent my fall with pretty much an empty senate body trying to rebuild my senate body to what it is now,” said Carr. “I spent all of the fall semester sending emails regarding members at large positions in order to set up for the next administration.”

Carr eventually filled the vacancies and noted that “the freshman class is very excited,” to take on leadership roles.

“I wouldn’t say that we were expecting vacancies,” junior political science major Christina Natoli said. “We are going to make sure that those positions are filled as soon as possible, but also protecting the integrity of the election timeline.”

Natoli is the only person on the ballot for SGA president.

Even with vacant positions and a lack of student interest in leadership, Carr looks forward to seeing Natoli and the rest of the executive board lead the student body. 

“I picked everybody for their exact position,” said Carr. “They did it, and they won. It was great to handpick the people that you know are going to work well within an administration.”

Carr also believes that he and Natoli share similar values and beliefs regarding the university. 

“It’s almost like passing the baton onto a new person. I have no doubt that she’ll continue where I left off on some of the things that I couldn’t accomplish this year because of time,” Carr said.

Some of the unfinished goals Carr hopes SGA accomplishes are filling the accessibility chair and increasing accessibility on campus.

“People know what needs to be fixed, but if you’re not applying the pressure for them to do it, they’re not going to do it. They’re going to find something else to do,” said Carr. 

Carr also hopes that the executive board is able to meet with Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo more, as Carr did not meet with him as much as he wanted to.

“We only had three meetings this semester and two last semester. I would just like to meet with the administration more often when it comes to several points in the year.”

Natoli, who also meets with the administration as part of the executive board, said that she echoes his statement of wishing they could meet more. 

Carr’s legacy

Last year, Carr won after a two-day runoff and a difference of less than 10 votes between himself and Joe Tufo, a senior economics major who is no longer involved with SGA.

Carr’s campaign last year revolved around diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, such as implementing JEDI (justice, equity diversity and inclusion) around campus to enhance the student experience, chartering an NAACP college chapter and adding additional inclusive training such as LGBTQ+ SafeZone and disability awareness. 

Carr had prior DEI expertise before his presidency as a member of Black Men Unified and Black Student Union alongside being a student worker for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. 

“I just have a wide variety of being with our identity-based clubs or faith-based clubs here on campus to really gauge on what the community needs and what it has to offer for everyone here at Rider,” said Carr to The Rider News last April.

However, plans shifted this summer when three top DEI officials left the university: past Chief Diversity Officer Barbara Lawrence, former CDI Director Pamela Pruitt and Vice President of Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg. 

After their departures, the CDO and CDI director positions were combined and given to Heeyoung Kim, who undertook the task along with her previous job as director of the Teaching and Learning Center. 

“It did put a little damper on what I wanted to do, as far as training,” said Carr. “Everything else I accomplished.”

Carr is a part of the CDO Advisory Committee, which is working on an “Inclusive Excellence Plan 2.0.” Other accomplishments include holding the first annual Cranberry Student Leadership Experience, creating a group of diverse student leadership that is representative of the student body and infrastructure projects. 

“If I had more time, I would run again and again and again,” said Carr. “It’s about making an impact for students.”

Carr said that he would be using this experience for future endeavors in the NAACP and beyond, and plans a career in politics. 

“You’ll be seeing me around,” said Carr. “As far as the future of SGA, I think it’s in good hands.”

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