The Undergraduate Student Government Senate confirmed members of the Elections Board at the senate meeting on Thursday after the discovery that board members had not been vetted or confirmed for the past three years.
The members of the new Elections Board are board chair Malik Archer, Jalwa Afroz, Sydney G. Bryan, Marshall Wayne Cooper, Carolyn Herasme, Julian Kingston, Jonathan Millings, Alexandra Smaldone and Caitlin Weisz. The board oversees the USG elections. The voting period for this year runs from April 11 to April 15.
A special vetting committee of senators and Executive Council members who are not running in the upcoming elections vetted the appointees for the board Wednesday night. The committee included Sen. Michael LiBretto, Sen. Victor Ng, Sen. Tara Schinasi and others.
The senate announced at its March 24 meeting that a review of the USG Code revealed that the senate must confirm nominations for members of the Elections Board with a majority vote of filled seats. But in recent years, the board members were appointed by the board chair instead.
The board appointees who were vetted by the special committee on Wednesday stood before the senate on Thursday for further questioning. Sen. Maximillian Shaps said during the meeting that he encouraged senators who were running for office to not ask questions, although some candidates still asked questions.
“It would benefit us to defer to the opinion of the vetting committee and ask as few questions as possible,” Shaps said.“The fewest actions by us will allow for the most transparent and non-biased confirmation hearing possible.”
While some senators also criticized appointees for not being familiar with the USG Code and the Elections Board bylaws, Sen. Lydia Senatus said that board members who are familiar with the laws should help educate newer board members.
The USG Judiciary announced last week that campaigning for elections was suspended beginning Saturday, March 26 until the Elections Board members were vetted and confirmed by the senate.
However, USG Administrative Director Thomas Kirnbauer asked candidates not to immediately resume campaigning.
“I want an opportunity to be able to sit down and have the Elections Board meet as group to discuss what the future of campaigning will look like,” he said.
Kirnbauer also said that all candidates would receive specific instructions after the meeting on when they can start campaigning.
“I only say this because there are candidates who may not be in the room, but I want to put it on an even playing field, so all people in the room and outside the room are fully aware of the time in which they can start campaigning,” he said.