SMU announces new president-elect

After two years of only one candidate running for president, candidates for Student Missionary Union president must now submit an application and proceed with an interview process, rather than running for election.


Senior public relations major and director of administrative services Angel Jesudasen proposed the change to the elections committee in October, hoping to refine the process to better fit the role of the SMU president.

“The more and more I was a part of it, the more I realized that the way the SMU president was chosen wasn’t really being effective,” Jesudasen said. “Their sole purpose is [not] to represent the students, but more to serve the board of directors… and then they serve their staff so that their staff can serve the students.”


After submitting an application detailing their work experience and providing references, each candidate must sit through two rounds of panel interviews composed of faculty, student leaders and members of the SMU board of directors.

Each panelist will receive a pre-set rubric structured around five to 10 categories covering knowledge of SMU, leadership style and passion for diversity. Jesudasen, senior public relations major and director of marketing and communications Sarah Giovannini and director of Student Programming and Activities and Student Government Association advisor Laura Igram designed the rubric. The final rubric came from comparing over 20 rubrics from various outside schools as well as different departments across campus.

“It’s not that we don’t trust the students to make that kind of decision, because obviously we want … student input,” Giovannini said. “It’s just that it’s a different way of getting that student input that ensures more groups are being represented as opposed to just having a popular vote where some people might be discouraged from voting.”


The candidate with the highest average score will be offered the position. In the case of a tie, the current SMU president and director of administrative services will make the final decision.

Liam Timoti, senior communications major and SMU president, hopes the new process will eliminate the tendency for the most popular person to win, ultimately continue to help the organization thrive.

“This job isn’t really meant for the most popular,” Timoti said. “Not running against anybody is kind of hard. We feel the interview process helps encourage more people to want to apply and it would also be a lot more refined in getting the right person.”

Applications for president are due on Feb. 17 while panel interviews will take place Feb. 24 and Mar. 3. The final decision will be made Mar. 10, following the same timeline as the SGA elections

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SCORR addresses the breach

Students from 18 colleges gathered together on campus on Feb. 17-18 to learn how racial tensions and modern-day segregation affects American society, higher education and the global church.

Troubling differences

For the 21st annual Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation conference, students had the option to attend traditional workshops, which addressed many areas affected by racial discord, as well as a new session centered around storytelling. Attendees heard from many speakers including the keynote Soong Chan Rah, associate professor at North Park University.

Rah gave two messages during the conference. In the first, he identified the breach by using history and statistics on immigration, showing how America will continue to become more diverse through the next few decades. In the second, he contrasted this with the level of diversity in churches and Christian universities, revealing troubling differences in the numbers.

“The college years… are some of the most formative of years of anybody’s life and the values you take from here are going to be values you carry with you potentially for the rest of your life,” Rah said. “And so wouldn’t it be great if we took that biblical value of reconciliation, God’s justice and God’s heart for all the peoples of the world… from this place and it became an important part of what we do as believers going forward?”


Students like Janae Sims, junior sociology major and SCORR co-coordinator for community events, appreciated the way he used statistics along with personal narratives to convey the importance of this message.

“I feel like him being able to statistically show the Bible is fulfilling itself to me just emphasizes the importance of why we need to have these conversations. The church should be a lot more involved in diversity than they are,” Sims said.

In an effort to engage with other people’s stories and narratives, SCORR directors added a story slam session on Saturday morning, titled “Narratives of Redemption and Identity Formation.” People from a multitude of backgrounds, including African-American, Native American, biracial and handicap, shared their experiences through stories, poetry and dance.

“I was hearing stories that I just had not even thought of before and realized that racism is still a very prevalent issue in our society that needs to be addressed, and I realized that I had a choice. I could stand on the sidelines and watch other people or I could be an active participant,” said Claire Zasso, senior English major.


Students participating in the event went to Sutherland Auditorium rather than the original location of the library courtyard due to the downpour of rain, which lasted all day. However, the weather failed to dampen the mood of the attendees.

“I just loved the fact that it rained. Because I remember, in literature, that rain always signifies the changing of a heart and a changing of a person and it’s also a significance of God’s blessing, and the fact that it’s been pouring today has just been so cool,” said Avalon Irwin, senior intercultural studies major.

By the end of the conference, many people were left with a lot of information to process, but also encouragement as Rah pressed on them the responsibility of continuing this conversation outside of the conference.

“As the church becomes more diverse, what a great opportunity for God’s people to participate in that and to see God at work,” Rah said. “I would never want to miss out on a good thing that God is doing, and diversity is part of that good thing that God is doing, and therefore I hope students would say, ‘Yeah, how can I be a part of that good work?

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