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OU's SGA presidents have been productive despite rocky tenures

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The OU Student Government Association presidential position has seen resignations and shortened tenures caused by erratic election reforms and resignations; however, those who have held this position have still accomplished much for the university and SGA.

In April of 2013, Ernest Ezuego and Madeline Grunewald took office as the President and vice president of SGA; however, in February 2014, Ezuego resigned as President due to unforeseen personal circumstances. At the time, SGA didn't have an appointment process established. 

"That's actually a unique part of SGA history," current President Alex Byron said. "We didn't have legislation put in place at the time to establish an appointment process after the line of succession, so Congress passed legislation to fix that." 

For the remaining two months of the term, Grunewald served as both the president and vice president of SGA until the new leaders succeeded her. 

Following Ezuego and Grunewald, Matt Epting and Sarah Campbell made history by serving the shortest presidential term in SGA history.

Epting and Campbell’s transitional term was half the length of previous terms because of a referendum passed in 2012, which changed the timing of presidential terms.

However, Epting and Campbell viewed this short term as a challenge, not as a handicap.

The pair were able to get a lot done for the campus despite only being in office for one semester, Epting said.

They worked on projects such as allotting a new restroom at the intermural fields, working on the Turn Up for Transit initiative to reduce parking congestion, creating a student consulting program which became CAC Core, creating an SGA Team to address individual student concerns, introducing the One Campus, One Book initiative and constructing the Rah! Council to motivate participation of students in activities.

“The shortened term motivated us to get as much accomplished as we could. It motivated us to work harder and faster,” Epting said.

Epting and Campbell left office in November, and Kunal Naik and Alex Byron stepped in.

Before Byron became the president of SGA, she was the vice president to Naik, who resigned in June of this year. In a previous Daily article, Naik said he believed he couldn’t bring the necessary dedication to the position of president.

"I would love to continue this opportunity, but I also have an obligation to my physical and mental health," Naik said in the release stated in the article.

His resignation followed an incident last December, when Naik was arrested for public intoxication and was almost impeached. When he resigned, Byron took the position of president, leaving the role of vice president to be filled this September. Byron appointed Avery Marczewski as vice president, and they will serve SGA until this November.

They have continued the work that Epting did with Turn Up for Transit and the One Campus, One Book initiatives. This year, the executive branch was focused on the issue of diversity and addressing individual student concerns on campus. Both Byron and Marczewski agree one of the biggest accomplishments they’ve had during their time at SGA was the work they did for Indigenous Peoples' Day. 

“I think it was our greatest accomplishment, because it wasn’t something that was completely started in House and brought to us and carried out. You don’t have as much buy in it with the student body sometimes," Byron said. "With a project like this — why it means so much to me — there were students on our campus that were unhappy with the lack of representation our indigenous community was receiving, so they came to us and addressed that and aired that problem, and we were able to liaison and offer information on how they could go about working with us, and how we could work together in order to advocate for their goal."

They said they want the future leaders of SGA to continue this conversation and the work and research that the previous presidents have started in order for this campus and community to grow and prosper. 

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