SGA expects the student judiciary to release a decision on Friday, Feb. 14 regarding president’s impeachment

Senate votes down a motion to confirm three elections commissioners

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SGA expects the student judiciary to release a decision on Friday, Feb. 14 regarding president’s impeachment

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Sophia Gardner, Assistant News Editor

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At the University of Massachusetts on Wednesday evening, the Student Government Association Chair of Administrative Affairs Althea Turley announced to the senate that she expected a decision to be released on Friday, Feb. 14, regarding the possible recall of SGA president Timothy Sullivan.

During the meeting, the senate also voted down a motion to confirm two election commissioners and a subsequent amendment which would have confirmed three nominees to the elections commission. All elections commissioners are nominated by the president and must be confirmed by the senate.

The original motion concerned two commissioners: Esha Maewal and Carys Lamberg. When Sullivan was informed there were three, rather than two, vacancies on the commission, Senator Jordan McCarthy proposed an amendment to include a third applicant: Lyric Harris-Whitby. None of the applicants were present at the meeting.

The senate called a recess in order to review Harris-Whitby’s application. After reviewing the application, some senators were concerned about the candidate’s qualifications, given he did not have previous experience with the student government.

Turley asked Sullivan, “Are you confident that this candidate, who has only ever voted in the SGA elections, is equipped to take this paid position and be in a position where they suddenly have to jump in and start running an election?”

Sullivan responded that he was looking to hire someone with little experience in the SGA because of the unique perspective that they could offer.

“I believe that it is a strength of this candidate that they bring a perspective that is unaffiliated to the Student Government Association,” said Sullivan. “I believe that it is important to have a diversity of perspective.”

After the amendment failed to pass, the SGA entered another recess to review all five applications which were submitted for the position of elections commissioner. Following this review, the senate ultimately voted not to appoint Maewal or Lamberg.

At the end of the meeting, Senator Kyle Kendall and Sullivan added a motion to the agenda to appoint Maewal, Lamberg and another applicant, Jeanne Grutchfield, to the vacant elections commissioner positions. Kendall stressed the need to confirm elections commissioners because of the timelines surrounding elections.

“It is absolutely imperative that we vote tonight, so that everyone can get the proper training that they need by S[tudent] L[egal] S[ervices] O[ffice], because SLSO has a bunch of other stuff going on, so to fit into their schedule . . . we really need to do this tonight,” said Kendall.

Sullivan also implied that his decision regarding these three candidates would not change.

“These are my appointees, do with them what you will if you would like to have a commission,” said Sullivan, “I’ve made my determination.”

In the discussion over the vote, some senators voiced concerns about Lamberg’s past, as the applicant had supported Sullivan’s election campaign. Before the voting, Lamberg, who was a resident assistant, emailed her building expressing her support for Sullivan, resulting in a 12- hour suspension for Sullivan’s campaign. The senate voted this motion down, and no elections commissioners were appointed during the meeting.

 The senate formally recognized Chantal Lima Barbosa, the former 2015-16 SGA vice president, for all of her work with the organization at their senate meeting. Barbosa worked managing the department of student engagement and leadership, but she is now leaving to become the Cape Verdean liaison for Mayor Marty Walsh, prompting the SGA’s recognition.

“Don’t take this for granted,” Barbosa said about the SGA. “It’s really important and people are going to feel it later on.”

SGA advisor Lydia Washington also expressed her appreciation for Barbosa, saying, “My right-hand woman is leaving me.” The SGA gave Barbosa a standing ovation.

The SGA also made an amendment to the bylaws around the election timeline. The amendment stated that the elections announcement must be made within 7 calendar days, rather than the previous 14, before the opening of nominations.

“One week is sufficient time to publicize and advertise the date and time of the Election, the nominating procedure and due date of nomination papers, the times and locations at which nomination papers will be made available, and the email of the Chancellor of Elections,” according to the motion.

This amendment was made because the elections commission had not been appointed as of the Feb.12 senate meeting. This delayed appointment was because of the vacancies in the elections commission, according to President Sullivan. According to the SGA constitution, the elections need to happen on or before March 25. The amendment was created in order to help the SGA meet that deadline.

The SGA also implemented new bylaws around the funding of new start-up RSOs. These bylaws would allow the finance committee to grant new RSOs start-up funds of up to $250, in the event that the group had been approved as an RSO in the most recent application cycle, and “do not meet the eligibility or funding requirements of the ways and means committee to submit a budget for the next fiscal year,” according to the new bylaw.

Sophia Gardner is an Assistant News Editor and can be reached at [email protected]