Appointments to the incoming student council remain in limbo after a controversial vote by the student council that led many members to consider changing their vote. A potential presidential veto may provide that opportunity.
The Student Council met April 14 to discuss the appointments made by the newly elected executive council for the 2022-2023 academic year. During the inquiry period, current council members questioned the lack of applicants for several of the council positions. According to Marie Squyres, student activities coordinator of UVUSA, 45 applicants applied to fill 22 positions.
“Great people were told ‘no,’ but these were tough pools,” Squyres said. “Student government tends to attract many high achievers. For some students it’s the first time they are getting a ‘no,’ but it’s a big pond with a lot of big fish.”
There were also questions asked by council members about how positions were chosen, and if personal relationships were a factor in selection. Keaton Bennett, elect vice president of engagement, responded by saying that no personal relationships were involved in choosing their student council.
“I was not part [of] any interview this year where I felt a candidate could not be appointed, they all had strengths and weaknesses,” Squyres continued. “Speaking from experience, as staff each year we see confident appointments, and then expectations are met, not met, or exceeded and there’s no way to guarantee where any of them will fall on that scale. Truthfully, there is no way to have enough representation or enough qualifications when it comes to a mix of 26 appointed and elected officials representing 40k students, but do we do the best we can? And those put into office, can they train and put forth their best efforts? We sure hope so.”
When called to a vote, the motion to approve the appointments passed with a 12-2-2 vote, in favor, against, and abstaining. However, many who voted in favor initially, voiced concerns after the official vote and wished to change their vote. This halted the meeting and began deliberations until the constitution was examined by Daniel Clothier, head parliamentarian, and advisors to UVUSA to see if a new vote could be called. Despite these concerns, the motion passed.
“I felt that some student concerns which were brought forward during the meeting, specifically on the topic of representation, needed to be reviewed more closely,” said Danielle Corbett, senator for the School of the Arts, and student body president for the 2020-2021 academic year. She abstained from voting. “As a council member, it is my responsibility to remove personal bias from my vote and take into account those whom I am here to represent.”
During deliberations, many council members expressed their concerns about potential bias from personal relationships in the appointment process. These concerns were voiced alongside discussions of the appointments’ inclusivity.
After deliberation, the vote was finalized and student body president Karen Magaña-Aguado reminded council members that she could still veto the motion, and that she has a week to decide, in accordance with the UVUSA constitution. The deadline of which would be April 21.
If a veto occurs, the student council would have the opportunity to cast new votes to either override the veto or to let it stand. If the council lets the veto stand, the motion fails and a new motion to approve next year’s council could occur, according to Clothier. It is unclear what would happen if the current council failed to approve the future council, as there is no by-law or precedent addressing this situation.
There hasn’t been any word from Magaña-Aguado about the veto, and The Review has reached out to the inbound executive council for a statement in response to the recent council meetings proceedings.