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Another Resignation and Another Stripped of Voting Rights at SA

By Shawn Ness | March 18, 2024

Senator Emma Rennard during debate.

Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / The ASP

This week at the University at Albany Student Association’s (SA) Senate, another Senator has resigned, one has been stripped of voting rights on their committee. In addition, the SA Senate looked over several pieces of legislation, including one requiring the posting of SA election candidates. 

After the Rules and Administration Committee submitted an impeachment request for Senator Ana Cervantes on Tuesday before the Student Association’s weekly meeting on Wednesday, she resigned a few hours before the meeting.

“Honestly, I guess it’s time. I can’t save myself anymore,” Cervantes told the Albany Student Press via Instagram. Attached to the message was also a breaking-heart emoji. 

Cervantes, like the other two people who have been recently impeached or resigned, was in the position for the same reason: attendance purposes. The last meeting Cervantes attended was on Feb. 14. 

Senator Will Loreti had his Committee on Constituent Relations voting powers revoked after he failed to attend any of their meetings this semester. He had eight absences from his committee meetings. 

Committee Chair Trevor Pettit made the case that with the appeals process approaching for student groups, it is dire that the committee meets quorum for their meetings so they can vote on legislation. By revoking Loreti’s voting rights, it will reduce the quorum count which will allow for the other Senators on the committee a little more wiggle room in potentially missing meetings. 

The move passed with 17 “yes” votes and zero “no” votes.

The Senate considered a number of other pieces of legislation, the most notable being the Candidate List Act, which would require the Elections Commission to send out a list of candidates for president and vice president, Senators, and University Council Representatives to all University at Albany students. 

Originally, it would have required the Elections Commission to post the list outside of the SA office and email it to all students via listserv within 36 hours after campaigning begins, which is what Nathan Galante-Conway, the Elections Commission chair, took issue with.

His issue was that the 36-hour timeframe was too small a window as well as there is a cap on the number of mass emails they can send out, according to the Office of Student Affairs. 

Senator Dylan Klein thought the cap on mass emails was ridiculous. 

“The fact that there is a limit on us being able to send out mass emails but the administration can spam me with the student health survey three times a day or a free speech event three times a day through a listserv is kinda crazy to me. We have to get that cap lifted,” he said. 

Senator Nic Feldman, the bill’s sponsor, thought that Galante-Conway’s reservations were reasonable. He went on to amend the bill to reflect that the Elections Commission does not have to do both within 36 hours, so long as they do something to spread the list of candidates to the students. 

The bill was passed via unanimous consent (UC).

The body also voted to strip now-impeached Senator Ethan Siegel of his assignment on the Committee on Constituent Relations, which passed with 17 “yes” votes, and zero “no” votes.

SA also considered a piece of emergency legislation that states the body rejects the New York State legislature’s proposed sections of the 2025 executive budget pertaining to higher education. 

The bill, which is sponsored by Klein, calls on the state legislature to fund SUNY’s services for food pantries, mental health services, and to provide more financial aid opportunities. 

It also called for a five-year tuition freeze and a tuition rate decrease to be implemented over the next 10 years.

“I'm calling for it again. This time, I'm making it more aggressive. I'm calling for a tuition freeze for the next five years and calling on the legislature to develop a plan to reduce tuition rates over the next 10 years,” Klein said. “I have the Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie on video three years ago saying that was their goal. They better follow up.” 

The bill passed with 13 “yes” votes, zero “no” votes, and seven abstentions.


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