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Undergraduate Student Congress appoints Student Parking Appeals board, election commission

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SGA Meeting 10/26

The two Student Government Association presidential and vice presidential candidates at the meeting Oct. 26.

The Student Government Association Undergraduate Student Congress passed two bills appointing the Student Parking Appeals board and the 2021-22 election commission in its meeting Tuesday evening.

SGA President Tavana Farzaneh and Parking Appeals Board Co-Chief Justices Matt Long and Andrew Wertheimer authored a bill appointing student members to the Student Parking Appeals board.

Representative Abby Halsey-Kraus said the job of the Student Parking Appeals board is to “review and rule on all student parking ticket appeals,” according to the Code Annotated.

The Congressional Administration minority report detailed concern with appointees who expressed favoritism towards the parking services on the basis of “rules are rules.” Congress members said they were afraid nominees would use that excuse to sustain parking tickets for extra cash on their payroll, which appointees denied.

Most candidates said they would rule on a case-by-case basis because they understand repeat offenders can’t go unpunished, but there are present difficulties in student parking they can help to alleviate, like people without disabilities individuals taking handicap spaces.

“We (want to) judge these appeals because we want to serve our fellow students,” nominee Walker Wambsganss said. “The priority here is on students because we want to protect students (and) lift students up onto a pedestal. That makes it even more important, in my mind, that we are here to judge on a case-by-case basis because, in a sense, we're protecting university students from (other) university students.”

The bill also raised questions with Representative Drashti Maisuria and Associates John Henry Donnelly and Malina Anderson being among the nominees.

“Our issue with this bill is that there are (two associates and one) representative on this appointment bill,” Representative Eileah Hale said. “They have not resigned, and you cannot hold two high offices, which would be a representative and a member of the working force. That’s a violation of the Code Annotated (and) the SGA Constitution.”

For Donnelly and Anderson, Chief Justice Long said their position in Congress doesn’t count as being a high-ranking officer, and Maisuria finished her resignation process during the meeting, clearing up concerns.

Hale also expressed concern since Farzaneh didn’t appoint the candidates, which violates Title IV, Chapter 4, Section 2 of the Code Annotated. Farzaneh said it was due to miscommunication, as the co-chief justices were unaware of the Code and started interviews without her. However, she said she had complete faith in them.

“I left the justices pretty much to keep that process in their own hands,” Farzaneh said. “I trust them fully, and I (still) got to meet the people that they chose to nominate to their board.”

After debate, a roll call for quorum — the stipulation that the majority of Congress representatives must be present — and with a vote of 15-9-0, the bill passed. Having already been seen by the Graduate Student Senate, it now moves to Farzaneh’s desk for her signature.

Congress also saw a bill from Election Commissioner Isaac Kabrick appointing the 2020-21 election commission following his appointment earlier in the semester. Halsey-Kraus said the election commission oversees all infractions, notifications and candidate’s budgets to ensure fair elections.

Prior to the bill, SGA presidential and vice presidential candidates discussed their platforms as stated in the Lissau-Akuffo and Castellano-Hepburn campaign websites. The two tickets will participate in a debate at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Meacham Auditorium.

Concern was also brought up about bias since nominee Jordan Murray wrote he had a connection with SGA presidential candidate Angelora Castellano. Murray said he would choose to uphold fair elections over his bias.

“(If appointed,) I will make the commitment (to) recuse myself from any grievances or sanctions with candidate Castellano,” Murray said.

The GSS has already seen this bill, as well, and passed it, receiving a vote of 21-0-0. It also moves to Farzaneh’s desk for signing.

Congress Secretary Coy Taylor, Congressional Administration Committee Chairman Foster Hillis and External Affairs Committee Chairman Jayke Flaggert announced their resignations. Taylor and Hillis’ tenure will end at the end of the current Congress session and Flaggert will step down effective Nov. 2.

“(I’m resigning) not because I don’t love the body or haven’t enjoyed my past two years here,” Flaggert said. “It’s because I believe that we’re in a different generation of Student Congress — a post-pandemic generation — and that a lot of us came in the body as freshman, having been here for two years and now (are allowing) new leadership and new ideas and passions through the body.”

Kaly Phan is a journalism sophomore and news reporter at The Daily.

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