Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, May 26, 2018

Spring semester brings challenges for SG

As the spring semester begins, Student Government faces a host of new issues. The constitutional reform referendum was officially passed on Jan. 20 by the Senate, Speaker Joe Wisniewski unexpectedly resigned and the organization’s website crashed over break.

Referendum to be put to a vote

The proposed constitutional reform shifts SG’s focus from governing to advocacy under the new banner of Student Association, according to Class of 2016 Sen. Glenn Holmes. SG will no longer have the Judicial Board or Board of Elections if the student body votes in favor of the referendum.

The student vote will take place between Feb. 5 and 6, and a two-thirds vote in favor of the referendum is needed to pass the referendum, according to the new SG Speaker Alex Iannacio.

The Senate voted in favor of holding reform referendum this semester, 16 to 1.

“The new [proposed] organization isn’t designed to be a government because we don’t need a government,” Holmes, who also acted as speaker during the referendum vote, said. “We need an organization that provides advocacy and programming, and that’s what the Student Association will provide.”

Alex Hoffman, class of 2015 senator for the campus at large, was the only senator to vote against the referendum. Hoffman believes the reform became a pet project for the senior SG members, he said. A small committee of SG members wrote the referendum, Hoffman said.

“They decided they were going to do this [pet project] in a back room, behind closed doors, make it all political and turn it into, basically, their own project,” Hoffman said. “When really, in my opinion, it should have been made public.”

SG speaker resigns

Wisniewski resigned as speaker of the Undergraduate Senate on Jan. 4 because he is working to start a non-profit organization called Generation Next, he said. The organization seeks to increase colleges’ political activism on a national level called, Wisniewski said.

“It was getting to the point where there was no way I could possibly give the speakership the time it deserves,” Wisniewski, who is also the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner representing the Berkshire and Avalon apartments and the Greenbriar Condominiums. “So really, it was a matter of me trying to make sure I could balance everything and I knew someone else could do a better job than me.”

Former Effective Chief of Staff Alex Iannacio was nominated and voted in as the new SG speaker on Jan. 20.

According to Iannacio, it was a very close election for the position. He was voted in as speaker by an 8-7 vote.

SG’s website crashes

The server hosting the SG website crashed on Dec. 19 and will be inaccessible until Jan. 26, Almas Kebekbayev, SG’s information technology director, said by email.

With the website crash, the abrupt change in speaker and the constitutional reform still awaiting the student body vote, Wisniewski believes SG needs to rebrand itself this semester.

“Overall, what we’re hoping to do is to truly use this moment to be an actual fresh start,” Wisniewski said.

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