VP departure forces emergency SA senate vote

Student Association named a new vice president for the rest of the 49th session after the departure of the student-body elected official.

Francisco Perez will take over responsibilities of overseeing the senate and other duties associated with the vice president’s office after an emergency session was called due to Ben June’s, the previous vice president, departure from Oswego State. For unknown reasons, June did not return for the spring semester leaving a vacancy in the position. June could not be reached for comment.

Anthony Smith, president of SA, communicated his support for Perez as vice president through email.

“The situation is that we needed a new vice president and Francisco Perez is one of the most experienced, and well liked, members of Senate,” Smith said. “He fit the role well and he volunteered to help the senators prepare for next year.”

Smith called an emergency session to fill the role on Jan. 30, in which the order of succession was followed to find a replacement.

“Basically, sometime over break we found out that Ben wasn’t going to be coming back to Oswego,” Perez said. “At that point, [Anthony] Smith took it upon himself to call for an emergency senate meeting.”

Typically, the position would fall to the senate pro tempore, however, this position was left vacant after the senator resigned.

“The [senate] pro tempore was Kelsey Thomas, she resigned from senate completely so she was gone,” Perez said. “Then the next person it went to was the chair of finance which was Tyler Jodeit, but he didn’t want it so he essentially took it and resigned.”

He said the vice presidency went to the Director of Student Affairs Rhay Guillen, who also declined the position.

Chapter two of the SA Code for the 2013-14 session states the presidential line of succession, which also covers the succession for vice president as well. It states:

If for any reason a vacancy of the Student Association Presidency or Vice Presidency persists after the line of succession has been exhausted, there shall be an election within the Student Association Senate, from the pool of willing and eligible Student Association civil officers to fill such a vacancy.

i. This election shall take place during a Student Association Senate meeting by means of secret ballot.

ii. A two-thirds majority of the Student Association Senate shall be required to appoint an individual to a vacancy of the Student Association Presidency or Vice Presidency.

“At that point it goes into a vote within senate of any civil officer of senate or director,” Perez said. “There’s a plan in the code for it, so we had to dig it up and find it.”

Perez was the chair of involvement and has been a senator since he was a sophomore. He said he is planning to help the senators and support them at their committee meetings because many members of the senate are freshmen. He is hoping to make the new senators more comfortable with being more active in the senate.

As for carrying on June’s previous policy to reward the senator who writes the most bills by the end of the semester, Perez said he would buy the senators pizza if they really wanted some but thinks the senators will write bills more for the fact they would want to.

With only a short amount of time until their current terms are up, Smith and Perez are focused on helping with elections, which are already underway. Those who wish to run for president or vice president of SA are required to turn in a minimum of 500 signatures by the end of the day Friday. Petitions are then validated by the elections subcommittee of the senate, scheduled to be finished by Feb. 16. The candidates are announced on Feb. 17 and campaigning can begin. Three debates will lead up to election day which will be on March 11 and 12.

Also on the ticket for students to vote on will be to decide whether or not to make the $97 student activity fee mandatory, as it is now voluntary. These fees, which are paid by every student each semester, total to a $1.4 million budget for SA. This is dispersed to all SA organizations like Student Activity Planning Board, which schedules multiple events throughout the year, but are most known for the fall and spring concerts.

Besides preparing for elections, Smith said that he and Perez are preparing the “senators in taking the reigns for next year and we are going to be focusing on how to better serve the students.”

Smith said that the senators are becoming more comfortable with their roles and serving the campus.

“Vice President Perez and I are working on the training manual for the new president and vice president in the hopes that in the next few years, SA will have a stronger presence,” Smith said.