Clarification and Correction Appended
Josh Levitt, a newcomer to the Student Government, was appointed director of the Kennedy Political Union in a vote of 14-5-3 during Sunday’s Senate meeting.
The process of appointing Levitt caused an extended debate in the Senate. Vice President Maia Tagami said in an interview that some controversy arose after an application from the current deputy director of KPU, Greg Martin, was turned in to Student Activities six days after the application deadline.
The applications for director of KPU were accepted until April 8 at 5 p.m. Tagami received Martin’s application at 9 p.m. on April 13 after she and her fellow executives had already conducted interviews with the two on-time applicants.
“I went to Student Activities to see the status of the application [and] if it could be accepted or not,” Tagami said. “Later that week Andrew Toczydlowski [program adviser of Student Activities] said because the applicant didn’t give any sort of indication [that] his application would be late, I was only to consider the two applicants that had turned it in on time.”
The panel of SG executives decided to recommend Levitt for appointment to the position. Levitt then went before the Committee of Rules and Privileges, where he was approved, and was then presented for consideration to the entire Senate.
Levitt was deemed qualified for the position largely due to his experience as director of speakers for the College Democrats. The club notably brought Ted Sorensen, speechwriter for John F. Kennedy, and Senator Arlen Specter, D-Pa., to campus this year.
Current KPU Director Will Hubbard expressed concern for Levitt’s lack of training and experience with KPU directly, such as volunteering for events during the year.
“Are you willing to put thousands of dollars of funds into the hands of someone who has had no training in KPU?” Hubbard asked the Senate.
However, Tagami said she thought Levitt’s past experience made him “unquestionably qualified.”
“He has a certain sense of duty that he carries for any of his responsibilities and [he has] undoubtedly showed us he was going to be dedicated to the office of KPU,” Tagami said.
Other senators vouched for Levitt’s motivation, including Class of 2012 Senator Seth Rosenstein.
“He is one of the finest gentlemen I’ve had the privilege to know,” Rosenstein said. “He’s an extremely hard worker, and when he sets his mind to something, he will get it done. While some [of the] concerns might be valid, I don’t think they are hurdles that can’t be overcome.”
Levitt plans to embrace quality over quantity in choosing speakers for next year by bringing in the people AU students want to see.
“I’d love to go big, in general,” Levitt said. “I’d like to do events that would make the campus community proud.”
Levitt also plans to reach out to the campus community to determine exactly whom students want to see on campus.
Levitt said AU can look forward to some big KPU events next year that will be relevant and exciting.
“I offer the idea that this campus community deserves to hear the best speakers possible that will not only give them a universal perspective but bring a large amount of energy to the campus,” Levitt said.
Clarification: Student Activities supports the decision of the SG to not accept late applications, however they did not instruct the SG to deny or allow the applications. That decision was made solely by members of the SG.
Correction: Deputy Director of KPU Greg Martin turned his application into Student Activities April 13th, not April 15th as originally reported. Vice President Maia Tagami received the application the following day.