In a constitutional change, ASG voted to eliminate elections for the Student Life and Academics vice president positions. The positions will now be appointed in a cabinet selection committee process, like other executive positions. The offices of President and Executive Vice President will still be chosen by campus-wide election.
The selection committee will include “the President, the Executive Vice President, the Financial Vice President, the Vice President for Student Groups, the Chief of Staff, the Speaker of the Senate, two undergraduate students elected by the Senate, and the outgoing Member of the Cabinet holding the position being selected,” according to the legislation. After the nomination, application and interview process, nominees must be confirmed by a two-thirds vote of Senators. Previous ASG elections were campus wide for three positions: President, Vice President of Student life and Academic Vice President. ASG has since added the position of executive vice president to the presidential ticket and six other positions to the executive board.
“As the Vice Presidents for Student Life and Academics are peer positions with the other Cabinet-level positions, it is not logical to select them campus-wide because that creates inconsistencies across the board,” said to the legislation.
Advocates of the change emphasized the role of vice presidents as technocrats who shoulder much of the workload, with the president and executive vice president responsible for more visionary roles more fit for selection and election, respectively. Critics argued that instead of pushing for a efficient board sharing a more uniform vision, ASG should value a diversity of opinions on the board.
In addition to forming a more consistent platform across the board, proponents of the change said the election for president and vice president overshadows the two vice presidential positions. They cited disparities in voter turnout and some said they felt students did not pay as much attention to the vice presidential elections. Supporters said a more meaningful conversation could exist in a committee selection process than in the status quo of campus elections.
“Not many positions in ASG are directly elected, but it’s a question of who is best served by an election,” President Ani Ajith said.
Members opposing the legislation said choosing to eliminate the elections would be a step away from democratic practices and power for the student body, citing some complaints by students and in campus publications. Proponents responded that because they felt students paid more meaningful attention to the elections for President and Executive Vice President, taking steps to align the board with the executive ticket’s goals and increasing efficiency would best represent what students voiced in the executive election.
After extensive debate and questioning, the change was passed. The legislation was authored by President Ani Ajith and Executive Vice President Alex Van Atta, Vice President for Academics Sofia Sami, Vice President for Student Life Anna Kottenstette and Chief of Staff David Harris.