Controversy arises as passed ballot measures seek to change UVUSA structure

Reading Time: 3 minutes The UVUSA student council has voted to approve a series of ballot measures that would alter the way the organization is structured; changes include removing the PR Chair from council and modifications to the Engagement branch and activity chairs.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ballot measures passed by the UVUSA Student Council have created controversy among members, as the measure would seriously alter the way the organization is structured

Voted on during the Jan. 18 student council meeting, three measures were proposed by the executive council to alter the council in terms of its members and change the structures of both its engagement and activities branches.  

In terms of its members, the first ballot measure would remove the PR Chair from the council, which is tasked with promoting UVUSA events and running their social media. This position would be made into a staff job, allowing for a more permanent presence in promotion. Furthermore, it would have paid interns under their direction. 

The biggest changes are being made to the Engagement branch of UVUSA; the first change will be its name. The second proposed ballot measure would change the branch name from “Engagement” to “Connections.” This seemed to create confusion among council members, as many of them saw the change as unnecessary. 

A question from College of Humanities and Social Sciences Senator Fransico Calderon-Mora attempted to probe if the name change had anything to do with the Utah State legislation that is seeking to remove Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs in the Utah education system. 

“I think that’s the proposal you guys are doing is doing the name change to something like that,” stated Kolton Pierson, assistant director for student leadership and involvement. “Where it’s completely pulled away from the [DEI], like the wording of it. So, it [would] kinda like be under this umbrella of connections … so that way it wouldn’t be impacted.” 

Other changes to the branch would also move the current parliamentarian position from the Executive branch to the “Connections” branch. It would also rename the position to “Civic Engagement Chair.” More significant would be the changes to the current inclusion chair and ambassadors. Under the second ballot measure, inclusion ambassadors would be done away with, in favor of two inclusion chairs under full scholarship. 

The third and final ballot measure would alter the Activities branch of UVUSA. Under the proposal, the event-specific chairs would be replaced with general chairs for events. It would also add a chair position, bringing the total number of event chairs to six. Right now, each chair is tasked with events for specific kinds of students: family events, couples’ events, etc. 

The fiercest opposition to the proposed ballot measures came from Kelcee Boehmer, who is the assistant to the VP of activities. Boehmer raised concerns, along with others, regarding the measures results on students within the programs, particularly about the quality of events that are being done without focused event chairs to guide events. 

Caleb Cutler, VP of activities, mentioned how UVUSA has been pressured by the administration recently to put on more events. This change is meant to provide more people to work on single events rather than splitting into different events for different people. The faculty advisors present seemed to support this as well. 

The changes proved to be controversial to many on the council, and at several points Student Body President Zac Whitlock shut down debate, saying, “You have had the opportunity to talk to your VPs about it, and as executive.” Despite concerns that were voiced by many on the council, all three measures passed in landslides, with only one member abstaining. No member voted against the measures. 

The Review reached out to the Executive Council for more information on how the proposals came about and their reasoning behind the changes; they have not yet replied. 

With the ballot measures passed, they now are required to be voted on by students. In the upcoming student body elections, students will have the opportunity to vote for or against the proposed measures. 

Student council meetings are held every Thursday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and are open for students to attend. For more information about UVUSA and the upcoming elections, visit their website. For The Review’s coverage on the elections, visit our website.