OU's Undergraduate Student Congress elected its Congress chair, vice chair and secretary Tuesday and voted to recognize April 29 as Drake Brooks, Nic Nair and Gavin Short Memorial Day.
Abby Halsey-Kraus was reelected as Congress chair. She was initially elected in a special election in February after the previous chair, Lacey Lewis, stepped down. Halsey-Kraus faced Rep. Shrey Kathuria in this election.
Rep. Carter Strickland nominated Halsey-Kraus for chair because of her knowledge and guidance throughout her time as chair this year.
“I personally believe that Abby is best for the job, not necessarily because of her past, but because of the present and now,” Strickland said.
Halsey-Kraus said she wants to continue the work she started by addressing systemic voting issues among students and cultivate more opportunities for representatives to speak with students, such as town halls.
“My vision for Congress is in progress,” Halsey-Kraus said. “As I said to you all before, every position within the body is a learning position. I did not get here overnight. Neither did you all, and that is why I plead with you all to continue to lead forward together.”
Former secretary Amelia Landry was elected Congress vice chair. She faced Annie Mullins, university policy chair.
Rep. Madeline Cantrell nominated Landry because of her work in other organizations and as Congress secretary, organizing events and member participation. Cantrell said Landry personally encouraged her to join Congress and serve as a student leader.
Landry said, as vice chair, she wants to create a constituent service point calendar, increase tabling for recruitment, increase morale and improve communication between committees.
Carolyn Berggren, human diversity chair, was nominated secretary of Congress. The race was uncontested.
Tucker Dunn, parliamentarian, said he nominated Berggren because she is “detail-oriented” and “passionate” about her work in Congress.
“You can always tell in every meeting she goes to that she deeply cares about what she does,” Dunn said.
Berggren said, as secretary, she wants to work closely with Congress members and be approachable. She said her work as a medical scribe prepared her for this position.
Congress appointed Madison Taylor as SGA general counsel.
A first-year law student, Taylor said her experience during her undergraduate years as chief justice in Colorado State University’s student government has prepared her for this position.
Congress appointed Hope Rhoads and Baylor Savage as co-chairs of the Crimson Leadership Association for the 2023-24 academic year.
Rhoads and Savage said they were motivated to become co-chairs because of the sense of community they felt as part of the Crimson Leadership Association. They also said they were inspired by the leadership of Susannah Lee and Manuvel Sibichan, the 2022-23 Crimson Leadership Association co-chairs.
Congress also saw CR-109-07, a resolution thanking first responders for their actions on April 7 when OU was targeted by international swatting. The bill passed unanimously, and because it is a Congressional bill, it does not need to be seen by the OU Graduate Student Senate.
Congress also voted on three Congressional resolutions.
Congress unanimously voted on a Congressional resolution to acknowledge April 29 as Drake Brooks, Nic Nair and Gavin Short Memorial Day.
Meteorology students Drake Brooks, Nic Nair and Gavin Short died last year after they lost control of their car returning from storm chasing near the Oklahoma-Kansas border.
Rep. Michael Reynolds wrote the bill because Brooks, Nair and Short were his constituents in the Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences district, and he wanted to honor their memory.
Congress also saw the 2023 Gun Safety Resolution, which reaffirms the Undergraduate Student Congress’ stance established in the Campus Safety Resolution act, which discourages all state legislators from any future legislation that would loosen gun restrictions on college campuses. This resolution was presented in light of the events of April 7.
This resolution passed 16-4-0.
Congress unanimously voted on the Cherokee Nation Delegate Support Resolution of 2023, which states the Undergraduate Student Congress supports efforts made by the Cherokee Nation to seat Kimberly Teehee as a delegate to the United States House of Representatives.
Congress also saw the Conoco Student Leadership Center Space Allocation Act of 2023-24, which allocated offices in the Conoco Student Leadership Center to Registered Student Organizations.
The body also saw AB-109-06 and AB-109-07, auxiliary bills that would allocate SGA funds. AB-109-06 allocated funding to 180 different student organizations. AB-109-07 allocated funding to SGA organizations, including Campus Activities Council, the Undergraduate Student Congress, the Graduate Student Senate, the Executive Branch and SafeRide.
These bills passed unanimously and will be seen by the Graduate Student Senate during its next meeting.
This story was edited by Alexia Aston and Jazz Wolfe. Francisco Gutierrez and Alexandra Powell-Lorentzatos copy edited this story.
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