Monday’s Student Congress meeting addressed the controversy regarding this year’s Student Association Executive Board elections, while also acknowledging the accomplishments of this year’s SA and establishing hopes for future E-Boards.
Kate Tashman, head of the Planning, Research and Elections (PRE) committee for the SA, explained the formal grievance that was filed against recently elected Vice President for Finance (VPF) Ethan Shepherd.
According to Tashman, the PRE committee deliberated and voted on four options: confirming the election results, holding a new election for VPF, disqualification and a runoff election. The former three options each failed, and the motion for a runoff election passed in the committee with six votes in favor, one vote in opposition and one abstention.
After some debate between Congress members regarding the validity of the filed grievance, a vote was ultimately cast in favor of the PRE report, approving the decision of a runoff election scheduled for Thursday, April 24. The passing motion had 20 votes in favor, 12 votes in opposition and five abstentions.
Following the decision to hold a VPF runoff election, SA President Eric Larson gave his “State of the Student Association Address” in an attempt to address his final concerns with the SA as it stands.
“I don’t know how or why I began to care about the SA as much as I have,” Larson said. “But the only way we are going to continue operating with even half of the degree of effectiveness that we have enjoyed these past few years is to have new SA fanatics fill in the gaps.”
While Larson said he admired the ideals of the SA, noting that they could operate as a national model, he also said he was not satisfied with the way matters like this year’s E-Board elections were conducted.
“When we elect people, we expose ourselves to the risks of the most popular person obtaining a title instead of the most qualified,” Larson said. “I wish that students would recognize that a position is only a title that the student body has bestowed upon them. It is nothing more than a tool that they are permitted to use for a brief time to the benefit of those they represent.”
He said that in his four years as a member of the SA, he has learned that it will never function as efficiently as it could and should.
“I’m in a spot where I can confidently say nothing gets done easily and when something is completed, it just gives enough satisfaction to keep somebody inclined to believe that there is still hope,” Larson said.
Larson also said he would like to see greater student involvement in the SA, not only from the student body but also from those on SA committees, on Congress and even those on E-Board.
“I wish that more people were involved for more righteous reasons,” Larson said. “I wish that the character of our leaders, and those that we trust in positions of power, would utilize their office in a matter that isn’t meretricious in nature.”