Student government shakeup: What’s next for the organization
Internal and student body elections will select replacements for the president, speaker
Following the resignations of former AUSG President Nikola Jok and former Speaker of the Undergraduate Senate Mulan Burgess, Student Government officials are moving to replace the empty positions.
After Jok’s resignation, Comptroller Justin Levine replaced him, acting as interim SG president.The constitution requires that the comptroller holds the position until a special election.
“In respect to the president’s cabinet, each of the appointees are still continuing their work with their respective organizations and roles. They have their own portfolio of tasks and goals, and are still actively working to execute them,” said Hanya Pillai, AUSG secretary, when asked about how the organization will function under such transitionary circumstances.
When voting takes place from July 27 at 12 p.m. EST to July 30 at noon, a link to the ballot will be emailed to the student body and posted on AUSG social media platforms. The results will be announced at 9 p.m. on July 30.
An SG president nomination convention took place virtually on Sunday.
Katy Selinger, senator of the Class of 2021, is serving as acting speaker of the Undergraduate Senate, following Burgess’ resignation. SG will hold an internal election to select a new speaker in the coming weeks.
“I see my role as someone to maintain the stability within [the] Senate,” Selinger said. “Even though there's been a lot of transitions over the last few months in the speakership, … the work of the Senate isn’t compromised.”
SG members said that they are using the internal shakeup as an opportunity to rework the relationships between the governing branches.
“By having a closer relationship within the government, it gives us a stronger opportunity to continue our mission to serve the student body in the best way possible,” Pillai said. “At the end of the day, serving our community is the most important thing we do.”
Following the creation of social media pages that posted allegations of sexual assault and racism from students, the Senate created legislation to form a Comission on Reforming Title IX Procedures and Preventing Sexual Assault on Campus, in addition to a Comission on Ensuring Racial Equity and Anti-Racist Policies on Campus. The commissions will work closely with other organizations at AU.
“We're continuing to do our best to advocate for students and make sure that, even though there's a lot going on right now, whether it's political or related to the University, everyone's voices are being heard and that we're doing our best to represent the needs of the students within AUSG,” Selinger said.
The commissions were created in response to the current political and social climate. Pillai said that the organization is communicating with various Black organizations on campus in hopes of driving change at AU.
“There needs to be continued effort and support with adequate resources that will be effective for students,” Pillai said, adding that SG plans to meet with AU's administration to discuss student concerns.