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New SA Senators Sworn In, Old Senator Considered for Impeachment

By Shawn Ness | March 4, 2024

Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Michael Christakis (left) taking questions about an increase of fights on campus; Rules Chair (and acting Vice Chair for the meeting) Dylan Klein (right) observing.

Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / The ASP

At the University at Albany’s Student Association’s session of Feb. 28, new senators that won their special election races were sworn in. Senators-at-Large Marcos Perez, Zainab Gondal, Applied Science Senator Audrey Asiedu-Wiafe, Humanities Senator Jason Aguayza-Palaguachi, and Liberty Senator Nic Feldman all took their oaths of office. 

The body also passed an impeachment request for Senator Ethan Siegel due to his attendance. It passed with 14 “yes” votes, zero “no” votes, and 11 abstentions. Siegel has not attended a meeting this semester since SA’s first meeting of the new year on Jan. 24. He attended all meetings during the fall semester.

According to SA bylaw, if a senator has three unexcused absences, they may be impeached. 

Rules and Administration Chair Dylan Klein (also acting Vice Chair for the meeting in Sarah Jamil’s absence) noted that the Rules committee passed the impeachment bill unanimously and attempted to reach out to Siegel but were unsuccessful. 

Senators Emma Rennard and Feldman said that the attendance policy is something everyone should know, with Rennard adding that a “decent chunk of the work you do as a senator is sitting your butt in one of the seats so if you are not showing up consistently and not sitting your butt in one of these seats… you’re disregarding a decent chunk of your job.”

Klein told the ASP that he expects the impeachment hearing to move forward – unlike Andrew Ong Garcia’s from the Feb. 21 meeting – unless there is a submitted letter of resignation from Siegel.

A few Senators noted that Siegel had every intention of resigning, but never sent Senate leadership a letter of resignation. The ASP reached out to Siegel for clarification but did not hear back. 


Public Comments on Fights on Campus:

One Residential Assistant raised an issue of violence on campus amongst some students, citing a large increase in the number of fights on campus. Jaden Gabb said he saw five separate fights on campus in the last week. University at Albany police records dating back to Feb. 18 only listed two fights. 

“There’s a problem affecting the campus, not the world, not the Albany district. Campus. I live here. Your residents live here,” Gabb said. “The people that you’re representing, are sitting in these chairs because they appointed you… What’s going on?”

The main instance Gabb referred to was a large brawl that happened in the Campus Center the night before with dozens of individuals involved and chairs thrown across the dining areas. 

Klein thanked Gabb for raising his concerns and noted that not everyone can know of everything that happens on campus and that he commends people like Gabb for bringing issues to the attention of the Senate. 

Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Michael Christakis made his first appearance of the semester. He addressed some of Gabb’s concerns. Christakis said that the university was aware of the incidents and that many of the incidents of fights on campus are perpetrated by non-students.

“The information I have on most of those [fights] is that they were not students. Our students are the victims of it. But they are not students that are perpetrating this,” Christakis said. “We’re a public and open campus, but there are also some circumstances where we are bringing friends onto campus who are not our students. Ultimately their behavior is our responsibility. I’m actually saying things that are your responsibility as your guests. We will do our due diligence all our community accountable, but it’s really hard, super hard to hold people that are not our students accountable”

Legislative Agenda:

Aside from Siegel’s impeachment, the body considered two other pieces of legislation. Senator Ayomide Ewumi was confirmed as Ranking Member of the Rules Committee, and Senator Gabriel Kitt was appointed to the Committee on Constituent Relations with 20 “yes” votes. There was no debate on the bills.  

The UAlbany Pre Law Society and the Human Development Club both submitted penny allocation requests, both of which were unanimously confirmed by the Senate. 

Elections Commission:

Elections Commission Chair Nathan Galante-Conway said that the spring special elections results were confirmed aside from the winners of Freedom and International student seats. The winners of those races were contacted and the commission has not heard back yet.

The self-nomination period for the spring general elections has ended, 18 people submitted paperwork to run for Senate, and five people have submitted paperwork to run for President, meaning the ticket of current President Jalen Rose and Vice President Amelia Crawford have official challengers.


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