By Shawn Ness | February 12, 2024
Senator Ethan Madappatt took issue with the Rules and Administration Committee’s proposal to only consider Senator Dylan Klein to chair the committee.
Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / The ASP
The Student Association (SA) Rules and Administration Committee recommended Senator Dylan Klein, the most senior member of the committee, to be the next chair. Senate Chair Erin McGrath has passed up Klein three times during previous appointments, and with the passage of the resolution, she could have an uphill one-on-six battle between her and the entirety of the Rules committee.
The committee decided on the pick in a meeting prior to SA’s regularly scheduled Wednesday meetings, in a unanimous vote where all members present agreed that Klein was the best option to head the committee, whose chair is third in the line of succession for Senate Chair if both Chair and Vice Chair of the Senate were to resign.
Klein, notably, was not at the committee meeting.
The resolution proposed by the committee made it clear in clause four of the resolution that the committee will “not be in support of any after nomination for Chair of Rules,” a clause that Ethics Committee Chair Ethan Madappatt did not agree with.
Madappatt said that the clause was superfluous and that everyone knows that the bill is a suggestion for the next chair, he noted that clause three already stated that their recommendation was Klein, and that further noting that they would not support any other suggestion was both redundant and aggressive.
“So we’re not looking into any other options with anyone else on that committee?” Madappatt said. “It seems a little aggressive that Rules is taking a stance against any other nomination instead of the Senator listed.”
Outgoing Senator and Appropriations Committee Chair Jac Cooper disagreed with Madappatt and said that the clause was coming from a place of anxiety. “The Rules Committee has seen a very high turnover rate and a lot of instability. When you look at the available options, there really is no one else. I’ve had personal and professional disagreements with Senator Klein, but realistically, there’s no one else for the job.”
Madappatt clarified again that clause four was aggressive, and that he understood it as if another Senator was nominated, that it would pit the entire committee against that person, “and that does not sit well with me.”
The resolution could put Senate Chair Erin McGrath in a tight spot for her pick to lead the committee.
A few Senators familiar with the conversations within leadership confided in the ASP that McGrath may pick Tahj Arnold, who just won his bid for Senator-At-Large in the special election that concluded last week. It would be a stark move that would go against even those who disagreed with Klein’s potential nomination and stated that the pick should be someone else currently on Rules or at least has served in the Senate before.
The resolution passed nonetheless with 19 “yes” votes, four “no” votes, and two abstentions, including Klein.
Outside of official SA business, there was a lot of discussion about mental health services in relation to a member of the UAlbany community who died in an apparent suicide on Tuesday (2/6), the day before the meeting.
Many Senators, including Senator Emma Rennard and Selwa Khan, discussed their own struggles with mental health and suggested that the school should have put out a response on the instance – even one without context that just included information about the University at Albany’s mental health resources.
Klein again raised the point about cuts in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget to mental health services, as well as the Student Suicide Prevention Act, a piece of state legislation currently making it through the state Assembly and Senate, which would mandate schools to have a plan of action in place when dealing with students who have committed suicide.
“Why is the Governor now proposing a $1 million cut to mental health services in the state budget for SUNY?” Klein said. “We’re not the first SUNY school to lose a student this semester, let alone this academic year. And it is week freaking four.”
Vice President Amelia Crawford announced the potential performers at the upcoming SA-sponsored Parkfest. Potential performers include Yung Gravy, Lil Yachty, Earl Sweatshirt, the Backstreet Lovers, Clairo, Hippocampus, and Benny Blanco.
The one name she did not announce is the headliner, whose name will not be revealed until the event.
SA is continuing its penny allocations for the semester. UAlbany Melanin in Medicine, Umoja Dance Team, UAlbany Spanish Club, UAlbany Skate Club, Students for Justice in Palestine, Sankofa Africa, National Alliance for Mental Illness, and Artistic Room to Create, all submitted requests, all of which were passed by unanimous consent.
The Pan Caribbean Student Association and the Jamaican Student Association also submitted supplemental requests for $3,000 each, which both passed by unanimous consent.
This body continues to have dwindling club funds; the supplemental line has $5,924, new and unfunded line has $3.67, and the sponsorship line has $6,003.