Illustration by Joaquin Kunkel
The first Student Government General Assembly of the semester took place on Sept. 3. The agenda included educating attendees about GA practices, electing a new Elections Commissioner, appointing students to the Board of Appeals and addressing concerns brought forward by various members of the student body.
Kate Melville-Rea, Class of 2018 and Officer of Communications, presented a video she made which explained the rules of presenting a motion and the subsequent voting procedures. After that, the chairs of Student Government committees and members of the Executive Board introduced themselves.
Election Commissioners Ken Iiyoshi and Mira Santos announced the Class of 2021 Representative position, welcoming students to announce their candidacy. Those interested in the position can run for the post by submitting their headshot and a 200-word statement by Sept. 10 to the Elections Commission.
Last year’s elections commissioner, Ken Iiyoshi, Class of 2020, announced his resignation from the post that evening. Subsequently, the position became open to anyone present at the meeting. Officer of External Affairs Tyler Headley nominated Christian Duborg, Class of 2020, to replace Iiyoshi. Duborg accepted the nomination and articulated why he would be suitable for the post.
“I am terrified of just this, standing up and speaking in front of a large group of people, but I also still want to be able to do my part and help the school run better. I think this is a good way to be able to work on student matters without necessarily having to embarrass myself publicly,” said Duborg.
Duborg was then elected to be the new Elections Commissioner. There were 70 votes in favor, one opposed and 25 abstaining.
Due to the abrupt nature of the vote, several students, mostly from the Class of 2021, raised several questions concerning the voting process as many students were unfamiliar with the newly appointed Elections Commissioner, and thus felt uncomfortable voting.
Members of the Board of Appeals were also voted in that evening. Student Government Vice President Marie-Claude Hykpo chose the final candidates, Tom Abi Samar, Class of 2021, Alexandra Urbanikova, Class of 2019, and Rawan Dareer, Class of 2020, over the summer. The candidates then each gave a speech before proceeding to a final confirmation vote.
“I want to be on the Board of Appeals because I believe that accountability and transparency are the most fundamental pillars of any democracy,” said one candidate for the position, Rawan Dareer.
Abi Samar, Urbanikova and Dareer were all approved by the attendees. Abi Samar received 77 votes in favor, no oppositions and 29 abstaining. Dareer secured 76 votes in favor, no oppositions and 29 abstaining, while Urbanikova had 79 votes in favor, no oppositions and 21 abstaining.
The final item on the agenda was new business, where students were encouraged to raise their individual questions and concerns. Among the issues highlighted were the standardization of automatic doors on campus, particularly how they are difficult to open, and Student Government’s involvement in off-campus events.
Another concern that was brought up was the format of GAs and the voting procedures. Students doubted the ability of such a small percentage of the school’s population to vote on and make major decisions on behalf of all students, thus leading to discussions regarding constitutional reforms. Students suggested amending the constitution to change the voting procedure so that only representatives, not the entire student body, vote on issues.
Dania Jo-anna Paul is News Deputy Editor. Email her at [email protected]