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Search for new SG secretary underway

Senate committee also opens investigation into why Faith Rokowski resigned from the post

The Undergraduate Senate’s Committee on Oversight and Accountability opened an investigation Sunday regarding the resignation of former Secretary Faith Rokowski.

Rokowski vacated her position just over two weeks ago after announcing her resignation in late August. Last Sunday, President Devontae Torriente nominated Rosalie Black for the position, but the senate did not confirm her. The decision prompted new procedures for the next secretary’s appointment to be decided upon at yesterday's meeting, as well as the opening of an investigation into the cause of Rokowski’s resignation.

“The first time we nominated a secretary, the process of nomination was very rushed because we felt we needed to get a secretary in the first meeting of the senate,” Torriente’s Chief of Staff Josh Gutmaker said. “Since then, we realized that taking our time would be the best solution to this.”

Interested candidates can now apply for the position via an online application. Once the application closes on Sept. 18, Torriente, Vice President Samantha Vervaeke and Comptroller Shannon McDermott will conduct interviews with candidates selected from that applicant pool, narrowing down the number of applicants to two or three, according to Gutmaker. There will then be able to get involved through SG-wide interviews running Sept. 22 through 24. Torriente will nominate his appointee after those meetings.

The new secretary will undergo job training from Sept. 25-30, and will take office on Oct. 1. As for the investigation into Rokowski’s resignation, the senate’s Committee on Oversight and Accountability will conduct the investigation in the hope of preventing a similar situation, according to Alexis Arnell, chair of the committee.

Arnell plans to contact each member of the SG executive board individually in the upcoming week and conduct interviews to learn as much as possible about what caused Rokowski to resign. Those members include Torriente, Vervaeke, Gutmaker, Comptroller Shannon McDermott and Interim Secretary Kris Schneider.

“We are really just looking to get more information on the issue at this point,” Arnell said.

Arnell will also rely on students not involved in SG for information relevant to Rokowski’s resignation. She will publish the results of the investigation at the next senate meeting on Sept. 18. Senators will then discuss what steps to take following the investigation, though no definitive steps have been decided yet, Arnell said. The investigation will also be available on the senate website and Facebook page.

Clarification appended: The original story’s headline misled readers to believe that the search for a new SG secretary was at the sole responsibility of the Undergraduate Senate. It has been updated to better reflect the collaborative nature of the search and confirmation process between the president and senate. The original story stated that the general senate body voted to open the investigation into Rokowski’s resignation. It has been updated to say that the Oversight and Accountability Committee voted to open the investigation, which does ultimately report to the senate at large. The original story stated that the president and vice president will conduct the interviews, it has been updated to also include the comptroller.

Correction appended: The original story stated that Gutmaker said that Torriente did not follow the “traditional” method for nominating Black, which Gutmaker did not say. The statement has been removed from the article. The original story stated that the forums on Sept. 22-24 are open to the general student body, which they are not. It has been updated to state that they are open to all members of SG.  

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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