ASG president Christina Cilento and vice president Macs Vinson finally put the last two weeks of political controversy behind them at Wednesday night’s senate meeting, opening the meeting with an official public apology for receiving election data and using that data to mobilize voters during the voting period which ended on April 8. The apology was part of the punishment mandated by the ASG Rules Committee.
"We ran for office because we saw a way to make campus better, and before we can do that work, we have to regain your trust," Vinson said, addressing ASG and the wider student body. "Moving forward, we will strive to ensure that our administration is a paragon of transparency."
Cilento also made an apology, reiterating the need to regain trust, and absolving anyone else on her campaign from recieving the leaked information.
"I believe we ran in this race with an incredible amount of integrity and I deeply regret that that integrity did not follow through the last half hour of the campaign," she said. "I hope that over the next year I can work to prove myself to campus," she said. "If you're upset about the situaiton, if you're upset with me, please, please reach out to me. Literally, if you want me to sit in a chair while you yell at me for half an hour, I will do that."
After a quick smattering of applause for the new president and vice president, Senate was back to business as usual, voting on and confirming the nominations of six vice presidents on the executive board: Weinberg junior Ajay Nadig was appointed the Vice President of Public Relations, Weinberg junior Isaac Rappoport was appointed Chief of Staff, Weinberg junior Edward Huddart was appointed the Vice President for Analytics, McCormick junior Philip Lan was appointed the Vice President for Services, Medill sophomore Ross Krasner was appointed Vice President for Community Relations and Weinberg junior Jourdan Dorrell was appointed the Vice President for Accessibility and Inclusion.
Nadig and Rappoport, who both worked for Cilento and Vinson’s campaign, were questioned about their role in the election data leak. Both nominees reiterated that their involvement was minimal. Although the first few confirmations were voted on via secret paper ballots, Senate decided to vote on the rest verbally in order to save time and trees, since none of the nominations had been particularly contentious. Two more VP's were confirmed quickly.
Things got heated, however, when Dorrell, who has served as the VP for Accessibility and Inclusion since December when the previous VP stepped down, was questioned about her application and her past accomplishments in a way that some senators and the Speaker of the Senate Nehaarika Mulukutla, deemed disrespectful.
Dorrell answered the questions gracefully, but Mulukutla reprimanded the senators, saying that the questions were unnecessary to her confirmation for the position.
"I would like to reiterate that this room is one you've been elected to stand in, and you better damn well be respectful if you are in it. There's a way to ask that question, and that is in a respectful manner," she said.
In a private endorsement period, there was an outpouring of support and defense for Dourell.
While the ballots were being counted for her confirmation, outgoing VP of Community Relations and former presidential candidate Joji Syed gave a brief farewell speech, using the incident as a call to action for more inclusive and productive politics.
"It's time to put an end to political stunts that are driving us further apart. Our goals and motivations overlap and align. We need to translate that to get shit done for our peers," Syed said. "The issues that our peers face on campus are far too important for us to put politics above solutions."
In an interview after Senate, IFC and PHA senator Nicholas McCombe defended his line of questioning about Dourell's achievements, which were singled out during the debate for being disrespectful. "I'll cede that I probably could have phrased it better, I think that is a fundamental necessity of this body to question a potential VP nominee on what their accomplishments have been in the role," he said.
All six nominees, including Dourell, were sworn in on Wednesday night. On an interesting note, Rappoport was sworn in on a copy of a book called White Privilege.