By Shawn Ness | February 5, 2024
Senate Chair Erin McGrath during debate on including the new special elections guidelines. McGrath lost her bid to not include the legislation after her veto was overturned.
Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / The ASP
Student Association (SA) Senators Mike Regatiero and Jack Cooper are set to resign amid troubles balancing workload and an increasingly large SA burden. Regatiero and Cooper chair the SA committees on Rules and Administration and Appropriations, respectively.
The move leaves SA Chair Erin McGrath in a tight spot to pick their replacements.
“I got a new internship opportunity after I accepted my role as Rules chair, and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Regatiero said. “I was being stretched too thin. I didn’t have enough time to put 100% effort into everything I was doing.”
Cooper expressed similar sentiments: “I think it’s more pertinent for me to focus on my academics. It has been increasingly difficult with the workload and balancing the Appropriations committee and my schoolwork, which I think everyone should be putting first.”
Cooper expressed that he wishes the Appropriations Committee the best and that he knows that whoever sits atop the committee after his resignation, which is effective Feb. 9, will be in good hands.
McGrath said she did not know of any upcoming resignations, even Regatiero’s who said he told her of his plans Wednesday afternoon prior to the meeting.
On top of those resignations, Senators Timothy Goldsmith and Irene Aloyce both resigned from their positions as Humanities and Empire Senators, respectively.
This could leave McGrath in a difficult position when making selections for the next chair of Rules and Administration. Perhaps one obvious frontrunner is Senator Dylan Klein, the long-time committee member and long-time SA Senator, whom McGrath has not chosen during past committee assignments to head the committee.
“There are basically no more people left on Rules, that leaves Erin [McGrath] with only one choice, and she has passed Klein up three times,” one Senator who requested to remain anonymous said.
There was some conflict over the new proposed special elections guidelines for the upcoming SA special election. In the past, guidelines regulated how SA hopefuls can and cannot operate their election campaigns.
The Rules Committee claimed to not see the guidelines, and according to SA bylaws 601.4.4.1, the guidelines are supposed to be submitted to the Rules Committee prior to the self-nomination period, which officially began on Jan. 17 at 12 p.m. Elections Committee Chair Nathan Galante-Conway said that the guidelines were sent to the committee at 11:06 a.m.
Galante-Conway also stated that the guidelines were in full accordance with the SA bylaws.
Klein made a motion earlier in the evening to include the guidelines on the day’s agenda, McGrath said she had not seen the guidelines until a few minutes before the meeting.
“It’s personally a problem when people try to send things, not only the day of, but literally two minutes before the meeting,” McGrath said. “I don’t think we have time to review the guidelines, and these guidelines have been in use forever, and if we didn’t approve them, the election wouldn’t have disappeared.”
She also does not believe that the Rules Committee has to approve the guidelines prior to them making it onto the floor, which is contrary to bylaw 601.4.4.1. “The Rules and Administration committee, in my opinion, technically does not have to vote on them. I don’t think it’s in their purview.”
Klein also noted during the debate that the guidelines proposed had the date incorrectly listed as being for the 2023 academic year.
McGrath vetoed Klein’s motion to not include the legislation on the agenda, which was overturned with 11 “yes” votes and five “no” votes. It then passed by unanimous consent after being added to the day’s agenda.
Aside from the election guidelines, there was only one other piece of legislation on SA’s agenda was a Comptroller Application Timeline update. The bill would remove some of the hard deadlines to allow the Board of Finance to create a calendar for the comptroller applications and to open and close at the comptroller’s discretion, as long as the application is live for two weeks.
The bill passed with 16 “yes” votes, a single “no” vote, and four abstentions.