Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Monday, May 27, 2019

Undergraduate Senate elects another new speaker

Mike Wang has been removed as speaker after three weeks in office.

Mike Wang was removed as speaker of the Student Government Undergraduate Senate during the Senate’s Nov. 9 meeting. Senator for the Class of 2017 Lars Emerson was elected as the new Speaker.

The debate began when Senator for the Campus at Large Gregory Pratt made the motion for a vote of no confidence.

“The bylaws were broken,” Pratt said. “It is my belief that we can’t have a speaker here that is violating the bylaws in many aspects, but also someone who does not represent all of us and is going against what we say.”

Wang was given a chance to respond to Pratt’s statement.

“If you don’t think that we should be representing students on issues like sexual assault and debt, then get me out of here,” Wang said.

Emerson and Senator for the Class of 2016 Joshua Zucker co-sponsored a bill called “A Bill for Compensation of Leadership in Impartial Positions,” which stated that Wang’s position as co-chair of the Student Media Board would not allow him to be impartial as speaker.

Bill Oldham, Wang’s co-chair of the Student Media Board, said he was disappointed that Wang was removed as speaker.

“Never once did I feel like Mike's role as speaker conflicted with that of co-chair of the Media Board, and I have no doubt that he was just as fair in his dealings with the Senate,” Oldham said. “I disagree with the decision made by the Senate, but I am sure that Mike will continue to be a crusading voice for students even now.”

Wang’s election as Speaker had already faced debate. He was elected by a vote of 15-14 after hours of debate on whether or not his position on the Media Board would affect his ability to lead the senate as Speaker.

Wang also ran for senator earlier this year but lost. He ran as a part of the “Students Unite Now (SUN)” caucus. SUN is "a union of students fighting for a tuition freeze, freedom from sexual assault, academic freedom and a more supportive and democratic university,” according to its Facebook page.

After Wang’s removal, five senators that are also a part of the caucus resigned.

Wang spoke about the next steps for SUN in an SG press release.

“SUN will continue to advocate for students,” Wang said. “[We will] continue to pursue our goal of uniting progressive and pro-people students, faculty, and staff.”

Although disappointed by the chaotic turn of events, Emerson said he is ready to moving forward in his role as Speaker.

“I look forward to moving past all of this and working with the Senate to pursue actual policies and working with the rest of [SG],” Emerson said. “Senate should not be treated as second best and students need to know that advocacy starts with their senators, who truly do care and will never cease making their case for them.”

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