Student Government searches for new vice president
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 03:09
At the beginning of this school year, Rast Gozeh resigned from the Student Government Association vice presidency – and the aftermath has left a strain on the association as a whole.
President Steve Collier and former Vice President Rast Gozeh were elected last school year under the motto “Take back UCCS.”
Yet now the executive branch is a juggling act, as former VP Gozeh’s departure due to a family emergency required his full attention and withdrawal from UCCS.
His resignation was not entirely unexpected, as Gozeh’s personal life had been potentially problematic since the end of June, Collier said. “Rast came to me and said, ‘Hey, this could happen…’”
Some of the strains faced by the current SGA administration involve not having a second authority figure to help with processions and proceedings.
“That’s the big thing about vice president; it allows you to divide and conquer your resources to attend club events instead of being down in my office having to deal with new applicants,” explained Collier.
The issue for SGA is the executive and legislative branches finding a qualified replacement that they can agree on. And there are arguments among SGA officials about what exactly “qualified” means.
“I look for someone who definitely has the students’ issues at heart,” Collier said, adding that he believes students’ issues are largely financial and state-oriented.
“Without continually championing [students’ financial concerns] – guess what, it’s going to fall to the wayside,” he said. “They’re going to continue to slash that little piece of the state funding pie, and that’s going to hurt students here.”
According to Jeramiah Burton, director of finance at SGA, the legislative committee is more concerned with cohesion and receptivity within the SGA body.
“What matters to me – is he a good leader? And is he willing to accept the duties of SGA? At the same time, this is a brand-new year for us, so this person needs to be a person who can bring people together,” Burton said.
Among disagreements on qualifications, this kind of problem by itself has never arisen before. As for the selection process, the constitution states that a vacancy must be advertised for five full school days as students apply.
An applicant is picked from the pool of candidates but also may be chosen from outside the pool by the president.
The applicant is then presented to the joint session, a combination of the House and Senate, which ultimately approves or declines the applicant.
On the administration’s public Facebook page, Collier expressed disapproval of the joint committee’s rejection of nominee Jeremy Marcelli. “I feel the House and Senate members who voted against him made a very terrible mistake in their vote.”
Burton said that the largest issue the Senate and the House had with the candidate was that he “had no prior record to SGA and absolutely no knowledge of our existence; he didn’t even vote last year in the SGA elections.”
The SGA legislative body and Collier have split opinions on what a candidate should embody and what responsibilities fall to which branches.
“Some of the questions the legislative council had to Jeremy were, ‘What are your specific goals for students…’ and stuff like that,” Collier said.
“I’m not looking for vice president who already has a [plan of] ‘This, this, this, and this.’ I want that to be the legislative council’s mission.”
As of Sept. 4, no candidate has been approved.