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Senate denies SG secretary nomination

SG Senate voted majority to reject Black, new nominee confirmation next week

Students will have to wait at least another week for a new Student Government secretary, as the undergraduate senate denied President Devontae Torriente’s nominee, Rosalie Black, on Sunday.

This will force him to select an alternative to present at next Sunday’s meeting.

Former secretary Faith Rokowski resigned from her position on Sept. 1, leaving the position to Associate Secretary Kris Schneider in the interim. The SG constitution authorizes the president to appoint Rokowski’s permanent successor, with the senate confirming that appointment.

During the confirmation, Torriente said he and the executive board pooled Black, along with five other students, to apply for the Secretary position since the application was private. He then consulted Rokowski herself, in addition to the other members of the executive board, before nominating Black. He did so to maintain cohesion on the board. Senators debated whether the application should have been public or private during the meeting yesterday.

“I think considering two things, one, the timeline and two, the fact that there was a very specific type of person we needed to fill this role, we all [the Executive Board] collectively agreed that it be best to pool a group of applicants to ask to apply,” Torriente said during the confirmation hearing.

He selected Black because of her being a “fresh perspective” to SG as well as her background in communications, which includes involvement as a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Photo Collective and as an Orientation Leader with the Office of Campus Life. She is also a Public Relations major in the School of Communication.

Members of the Senate began the confirmation hearing by asking Black questions about her qualifications and platform. Then Black was asked to leave the room while the senate discussed their opinions before voting.

"I voted against her being the appointee for the position,” Vice President Samantha Vervaeke said during the confirmation hearing. “I would've rather seen Kris Schneider, the Interim Secretary, become the actual Secretary. I think as the executive that arguably relies on the Secretary's cabinet the most, I do not feel comfortable appointing the heads of KPU, SUB, Women's Initiative, Founders, what have you, to her to execute the communications that are necessary to be successful.”

Other senators agreed with Vervaeke, arguing that Black’s lack of SG experience was risky, especially as she would be joining in the fall semester and not back in the spring with the rest of the Executive Board.

Black’s platform, if elected as Secretary, revolved around the idea of giving the role a “personal touch” and making SG more accessible to students, specifically freshmen. Black planned to expand student government’s reach by using social media as a tool to create connections. She also wanted to utilize videos, flyers and graphics to give students a clear understanding on what student government does.

“To be honest I was very, very nervous about applying to this position because I was very intimidated by the whole organization. I want to try to cut that barrier and make it more accessible to students in general,” Black said during the confirmation hearing. “Because student government should be for anyone and everyone, not just those that have money and time to do it.”  

Many senators argued that interim Secretary Schneider should fill the vacant position. Schneider responded saying that regardless of whether he is nominated, he will continue to serve in SG.

“I would like to see the process reopened, whether it’s public or not. I still think the e-board is perfectly capable of picking people on this campus that are capable of doing [communications],” Schneider said during the confirmation hearing. “I would just encourage us to look again.”

For some, including Senator Valentina Fernández, the confirmation hearing was disappointing in the way it was handled.

“I respect the decision that was made today, I don’t agree with it but it was made regardless,” Fernández said during the confirmation. “In the future I think all us senators can work on making our own decisions and not necessarily having group chats going around all asking the tailoring questions because, yes, we are a team, but we’re also individuals and we’re not teaming up against each other here.”

As the semester comes to an end and one of the founding members leaves American University, Section 202 has decided to take a trip down memory lane. For our fans, old and new, who are wondering how Section 202 came to be, this episode is a must. Listen along as hosts Connor Sturniolo and Liah Argiropoulos reminisce about the beginning of Section 202 and how it got to where it is now.

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