In an unprecedented event, UGBC’s Student Assembly rejected one Vice Presidential candidate and did not unanimously appoint two others during the appointment meeting on Sunday, April 30.
At the meeting, the Student Assembly (SA) voted to appoint five new VPs: VP of Diversity and Inclusion (DI), VP of Student Initiatives (SI), VP of Student Organizations (SO), VP of Communications, and VP of Finance. Josh Frazier, MCAS ‘20, and Tom Downing, CSOM ‘18, filled the first two positions with unanimous votes. However, the SA proceeded to debate the following three.
To become a VP, the VP elects must write up rationales for their decisions, which the SA then reviews prior to the voting. At the appointment meeting, each VP elect has the opportunity to explain his or her qualifications and vision for the division. Following this, the SA takes a vote looking for a simple majority.
“Normally the process seems like a formality, and there isn’t usually much debate or question,” commented Caroline Monnes, MCAS ‘19, a current member of the SA. “Most VPs are confirmed unanimously without any questions or debate.”
Chris Kim, MCAS ‘18, the candidate for VP SO, was the first to face questioning and opposition. Kim was previously a member of ULA his freshman year and a Diversity and Inclusion Programming Board (DIP) co-manager his sophomore year.
Monnes recounts that “many of [the SA members] were worried about the difficulty of [Kim] running SO without having any experience within SO itself,” despite his qualifications for the role. After much questioning and debate, Kim was confirmed in a blind vote, but not unanimously.
The candidate for VP Comm, Tyng Pan, MCAS ‘18, also faced questions, due to her inexperience in UGBC and the inherent difficulty of running a division as large as Comm. This was not the first year that someone with no previous UGBC experience ran for VP. In fact, the Comm division was completely restructured last year by Emily Yu, MCAS ‘17, who had no experience in UGBC prior to becoming VP Comm.
Monnes, who voted to confirm Pan, noted her hesitation, “I was worried about bringing in someone from outside UGBC for the second year in a row, and if there would be issues with the continuity of the new structure of the division.” Voting on the opposing side, SA member Katie Bailey, MCAS ‘19, remarked, “Tyng Pan lacks the experience and skill set required to do an effective job of leading Comm.” Ultimately, Pan was confirmed in a majority, but not unanimous, vote.
The last confirmation was the most dramatic. The SA grew concerned when VP Finance elect Brian Lee, MCAS ‘18, “expressed interest in integrating the financial coordinators into the divisions they serve,” recalled Monnes.
Typically, Finance has been a more independent branch of UGBC, which helps it to be unbiased and thorough. Lee’s vision clearly diverged from the SA’s expectations. After further questioning, the SA held a blind vote and ultimately rejected Lee for the position.
As the VP of Finance position remains vacant, current UGBC President Akosua Achampong and EVP TT King, both MCAS ‘18, will have to re-interview and select a new VP of Finance. The SA will be able to confirm the new VP of Finance at the beginning of next year.