Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Monday, January 21, 2019

Douglas serves as acting secretary

Douglas serves as acting secretary

Student Government President Joe Vidulich appointed Cait Douglas, one of his chiefs of staff, as acting secretary of the SG after Alex Manzanares, a sophomore in the School of Communication, resigned last week.

"She's been doing a lot of publicity stuff for a lot of different departments," Vidulich said. "Because the main job of the secretary is communication, I felt it would be a natural choice."

Douglas, a senior in SOC and the School of Public Affairs, will serve as secretary, unpaid, until Vidulich appoints a permanent secretary.

Applications for secretary will be posted on the SG's Web site, and an e-mail advertising the position will be sent to all student.Douglas will be able to perform all secretarial duties except signing financial request, which will be signed by Vidulich or Comptroller David Teslicko. Douglas said she has not decided if she will apply for the position.

"It's a great opportunity - I'd love to do it," she said. "It'd be a decision to make."

Douglas does not expect any issues with her transition to secretary because she was responsible for much of SG publicity over the summer.

"I have been helping with the Student Government publicity throughout the summer and since the academic year started," Douglas said in an e-mail. "I look forward to continuing to communicate to the student body what is being done with their student activity fee."

A group of SG members will interview the candidates and make a recommendation to Vidulich by Sept. 21.

"I don't like that it's just one [person appointing the secretary] because it's everyone's secretary," Vidulich said.

Some issues need to be resolved in the SG, but involving multiple people in picking a replacement is a good idea, Manzanares said.

"I give him [Vidulich] props for actually having a whole board in appointing the next secretary, and I think it's a step in the right direction," Manzanares said. "I hope that we're able to diversify the Student Government in future years. Before proceeding with an actual appointment process, I would recommend that we look at the internal problems of the Student Government."

Vidulch will then interview the candidates and present his nominee to the Undergraduate Senate by Sept. 29. Vidulich wants to be transparent about the process, he said.

"I want it to be a little longer than people think because I want a lot of people to apply," he said. "I think it's too important."

The senate will then have to confirm Vidulich's appointment.

Frankie Solomon questioned the authority of Vidulich to appoint the new secretary.

"Joe Viddy did great things with Blue Crew, but I don't think the president should be able to appoint his own cabinet," said the sophomore in SOC. "Students should be able to elect whoever represents them, not the other way around."

Rick Edwards, director of the Student Advocacy Center and a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, will coordinate the search for the new secretary. Others in the group are: Teslicko, who will represent the president, vice president and comptroller; Nasreen Qureshi, director of design, Seth Cutter, archivist and senate clerk and Vanessa Mueller, director of Women's Initiative, will represent the executive cabinet; and senate Speaker Caitlin Hodgkins and Sarah Weinstein, a Class of 2010 senator, will represent the Undergraduate Senate.

The secretary's job, as outlined in the SG constitution, is to smoothly run the daily operations of the SG. The secretary is also in charge of communicating the SG's activities with the student body and maintaining transparency.

Manzanares resigned Wednesday night because of his claim that the Vidulich administration promoted "nepotism and being best friends with the American University administration," The Eagle previously reported.

"It is unfortunate that Secretary Manzanares left our organization in the manner he did," Hodgkins said in an e-mail. "The Undergraduate Senate, as they returned from summer recess, had many tough questions for all four executives as they presented their summer work reports.

However, some members of the Senate were leery of the secretary's responses to several questions. I felt it appropriate to compel Mr. Manzanares to complete his questioning this past Wednesday evening at a special session."

Manzanares submitted his letter of resignation before the senate was able to finish questioning him, she said.

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