Student Government Association internally elects new co-presidents
by James Burnett
The Student Government Association’s (SGA) Presidents’ Council elected Matthew Garza ’20 and Ashlee Guevara ’21 as the new SGA co-presidents during their formal meeting on Sunday, Feb. 3. The election was prompted by the resignations of former president Taylor Haberstock ’20 and former vice-president Samantha Lee ’20.
After three rounds of voting, the Executive Board’s Parliamentarian Zack Mishoulam ’19 announced that Garza and Guevara reached the majority number of votes needed to win the election. Garza and Guevara will serve the rest of Haberstock and Lee’s terms.
Although the president and vice-president are usually elected by the student body, article IX, section 1, sub-section i of the SGA’s Constitution allows for “a special election” from within the Presidents’ Council of an interim president to replace the resigned members of the Executive Board.
In order to elect co-presidents to the position, and not just a single “interim president” as
outlined in the Constitution, the government first voted unanimously to add a constitutional amendment to allow for “an Interim SGA President and Vice President or Interim SGA Co-Presidents. . . ”
After the vote, Garza introduced a suite of three motions to establish the interim executive or executives. The first motion would “have Ashlee Guevara (Class of 2021 co-president) assume the role of SGA President.” The second motion would do the same, except the singular executive in this motion would be Garza, the Class of 2020 co-president. The final motion would elect both Guevara and Garza to serve as co-presidents.
As Garza presented the three motions, he explained that he wanted to give the Presidents’ Council options. He said, “As long as we get SGA running again, I’ll be happy.”
The Presidents’ Council voted by secret ballot and the winning motion required a two-thirds majority. After the first round of voting, Mishoulam announced that none of the motions had reached the necessary majority. However, because the voting was ranked-choice, the least popular option, Guevara serving as the singular executive, was eliminated from the options.
Mishoulam also clarified to the Presidents’ Council that they are con
stitutionally “not allowed to abstain” from the vote. He then announced that “we are going to have to vote again.”
Once again, a single motion did not reach the required two-thirds majority during the second round of voting. After the vote, class of 2019 Co-President Matt Mitchell said to the assembly that for the purpose of getting the SGA back up and running, he “would like to get this resolved as soon as possible.” Therefore, he proposed a floor motion to change the required vote percent from two-thirds to a simple majority.
Class of 2020 Co-President Sarah Kaplan expressed concern over Mitchell’s motion. “This might propose some issues” in the future, she argued. Regardless, Mitchell’s motion was approved by the Presidents’ Council 15–5.
During the third round of voting, Mishoulam announced “after tallying the votes, you guys have decided for your executives to be both Ashlee [Guevara] and Matthew [Garza].” The two began their term immediately.