By Michael Freeman, Managing Editor
With less than three weeks before the Students’ Association Congress executive officer elections, Congress decided not to elect an interim vice president to fill the vacancy left after the impeachment of former SA Congress President Daniel Paul Watkins. SA Congress President Sarah Pulis spoke to the Congress on Wednesday in Hart Auditorium, detailing her reasons why the Cabinet felt it was unnecessary to fill the position she held before assuming the job of SA president two weeks ago.
“The way this election schedule falls, it takes about two and a half weeks to get the process started and finished, and so if we were to elect an interim VP, they would only be in office for about one week before the next election started,” Pulis said. “I didn’t know that that was the most efficient use of time.”
Instead, Congress utilized its time Wednesday to review what changes it plans to make to the SA Constitution before the elections begin April 6.
Potential alterations to the Constitution will include rewriting the ways amendments are incorporated into the Constitution, defining the roles of the SA advisers, Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, vice president and dean of Student Life, and Dr. Jeff Arrington, associate dean of Student Life, outlining conduct expectations for Congress members and embellishing on the impeachment process.
The SA By-Laws also will be examined, specifically the sections about positional responsibilities, Cabinet salaries and the incorporation of amendments.
“[The By-Laws are] something that’s much worse off than the Constitution,” Parliamentarian Caleb Archer said. Archer also said Congress will look at the SA Rules of Order, and they could perform a “complete overhaul” on the rules.
After Congress reviewed possible changes, Baron Smith, senior information systems major from Irving, and Jessica Johnson, senior education major from The Colony, both members of Swing Cats, told Congress about their experiences at a swing dance conference in Houston during spring break and performed a brief dance.
“Y’all helped us go to a conference this past week, and we really appreciate it,” Smith said.
On March 4, the SA Cabinet met to grant conference funds to two groups because Congress was unable to do so the day prior as it dealt with Watkins’ impeachment. Treasurer Spencer Hemphill reported to Congress on Wednesday that the Cabinet granted the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association $1,750 to go to a conference in Austin and granted the Broadcast Education Association $200.
More than $1,290 remained in the Student Request Fund, which was granted to Nathan McKenzie, senior political science major from Albuquerque, N.M., Michael Roberts (’08) and Madison Saniuk, senior political science major from Arlington, all of whom are in the Jack Pope Fellows Program, to attend conferences. The vote was 29-0-2.
Brent Palmer, junior political science major from Durham, N.C., also was appointed unanimously to the office of junior senator.