After an extended debate, Undergraduate Student Government Senators voted to approve USG President Austin Dunn’s appointees for USG Director positions at the Senate meeting on Tuesday.
Dunn appointed directors, who will lead sections of USG like the marketing and funding boards for the 2017-2018 school year.
Following Dunn’s presentation on the appointments, the Senate debated whether or not to confirm them. Some senators said they were uninformed of their opportunity to review Dunn’s appointments prior to the meeting, while others questioned the appointments, specifically within the Advocacy Branch.
Sen. Isabella Smith, who was absent at the meeting, urged the Senate to postpone the confirmation until next week, according to a statement read by Sen. Katie Han on Smith’s behalf.
“I think that postponing the vote would be beneficial because I’d like some more information on some of the people selected, particularly in the Advocacy Branch,” Smith said. “I want everyone to be voting in an informed way, and I know many people here were not given enough information to do so.”
Sen. Noah Silver also expressed concern over the Senate’s lack of familiarity with Dunn’s appointments.
“[The senators] did have the week to review the applicants, but I don’t think most of us understood that we had that week or that we were within that right to do so, so I don’t think that week was fully taken advantage of,” Silver said.
However, Sen. Joey Hall urged the Senate to rely on Dunn’s judgment and confirm the appointments immediately instead of next week.
“The process itself seems like [Dunn and the USG Executive Board] are supposed to be doing the job of electing [directors] in the first place, and Senate has not been part of the application process before,” Hall said. “Just going off of how it was, and this is the way we are just affirming his vote, I think we should respect his opinion.”
The former USG administration attended the meeting in order to assist the new Senate with parliamentary procedure. After many points of clarification and open debate, the Senate moved to deny postponing the confirmation, and affirmed the appointed Directors immediately.
“I think previously serving as Vice President, I understand that this is a very hard process to pick up on,” Dunn said. “We’re still in the process of transitioning, and the hardest thing that Senate has to go through is they don’t really get a transition period.”
In order to help with this transition and foster positive relations between himself and the new Senate, Dunn said he aims to stress his role as an approachable resource.
“I think one thing I’ve already noticed is sometimes there’s this natural intimidation between members of the organization about talking to the president, but I’m very much the open-door policy type,” Dunn said. “I made it very clear today that I will never tell Senate what to do — that’s not who I want to be or how I want to lead, but more so working in conjunction with one another and serving as a resource whenever I can.”