By Meghan Brink | October 18, 2021
A vice-chair was finally elected by the Student Association Senate during a special session last Wednesday, a necessary first step towards providing student clubs access to funding held up by several election delays and personal hostilities in student government.
First-year Senator Divya Tulsiani scored 68% of the vote over her opponent Senator Brianna Ortiz.
During the debate before voting, Tulsiani remarked that she believes she will bring a new perspective into the Senate as a first-year senator. She also noted her pride in being the second woman of color to hold this position in SA history.
“It is an absolute honor and a privilege to be able to serve in this role,” said Tulsiani. “The Senate has been stalled far too long, and we owe it to our students and student groups as well as to each other to push our advocacy forward and make up for lost time.”
To move SA forward, a special session will be held tomorrow in the Campus Center Ballroom to approve committees. Once committees are formed, student clubs will finally be able to request funding through the appropriations committee.
The Senate will also be reviewing legislation put on hold due to the vice-chair elections that took two weeks to formally complete.
Comptroller Molly Donelan, before the election, reminded the Senators of their important responsibility to be accountable to the student population, citing the hostile environment developed in the student government that has prevented progression.
“It has been a hard couple of weeks. No vice-chair. No appropriations committee,” said Donelan. “People come here expecting action, but they see people yelling over each other, debating on whether to debate. Accusing each other of felonies. You need to get it together.”
Several members of SA have confirmed with the ASP that they have experienced bullying and hostile behavior from others in the student government, which has made working in SA feel unwelcome and intimidating.
Many students are also beginning to question the legitimacy of SA as the body becomes more unproductive by failing to meet the current monetary needs of student organizations.
Donelan continued, “Last election we voted on the student activity fee. We came really close to not having one. Nearly 47% of students voted no. Why? Because they think they don’t have access to the money we hold. We have over 130,000 dollars being held hostage because of this Senate.”