Senior business major and non-traditional student Reginald Ligonde was elected as the 23rd senator of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Senate during their meeting on Nov. 5 by unanimous vote.
Ligonde filled the 23rd seat after a previous senator, junior mathematics major Caitlyn Miller, stepped down from her position due to time conflicts and an excessive workload. The USG constitution states that when a senator’s position is vacated, the president appoints a student to fill the position.
Out of the 60 applicants who applied for the position, the USG Executive Board interviewed a group of 13 and came to the conclusion that Ligonde was the best candidate. He did not assume office until he was approved by at least a two-thirds majority of the USG Senate.
Non-traditional students are typically those who do not attend college immediately after they graduate high school, do not fall under the age bracket of 18 and 25 or attend college part-time.
“He does bring in a perspective that we’ve never really had in USG before, which is one of the main reasons why I thought he’d be a great addition to the team,” USG Vice President and senior biochemistry and psychology double major Asna Jamal said.
Ligonde, who is 42 with a wife and two children, explained that he applied for the role so he could bring attention to an underrepresented community.
“I’m really interested as a non-traditional student looking to bring a voice to other non-traditional students to give them an avenue to speak and share… I think it’s really important that they are part of this community, that they are actively seeking other avenues, just not academically, to broaden what they’re doing at the school and give them a sense of pride,” Ligonde said.
All members of USG are also required to sign a new confidentiality agreement. According to USG Administrative Manager Carlos Cobo, the agreement applies to all students who are working in USG and is especially important for events that include contracts with guests and various artists, such as performers for Brookfest or Laugh at the Brooks.
“You guys are very important and in respectable positions, for that you’re being granted and being given access to sometimes really personal information,” Cobo said. “In the past, especially with certain committees, that sort of information would be breached, where it would be leaked over to the public.”
Information protected under the contract includes, but is not limited to, student educational information, university information and USG financial information. If elected members of USG break the confidentiality agreement, they will undergo a process of impeachment. USG members who were not elected to their jobs will be terminated.