By Shawn Ness | September 11, 2023
Senators sitting in the Campus Center Boardroom.
Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / Albany Student Press
The University at Albany’s Student Association (SA) opened up its legislative agenda for the year by considering eight different nominations for various directors.
During SA Senate Chair Erin McGrath’s opening remarks, she explained how voting and nominations work to the new members of the body. First, the Senator sponsoring the nominee will put forward the motion, which then has to be seconded by another member before it is opened up to debate. Any member has the opportunity to say their thoughts on the nominee in no more than 20 minutes, after debate, it goes to a vote.
There are two voting options to confirm nominees, the first is a roll call, where the Senate Chair calls the names of Senators who then have to respond with a “yes” or a “no.” Nominees need two-thirds of the Senate’s approval to be confirmed. The second option is called unanimous consent, if someone calls for a vote by unanimous consent, and if no one objects, then the nominee is passed.
Nominees do not have the opportunity to address the Senate, McGrath said she does not particularly like the rule, but since it is not codified in any of SA’s by-laws, there is nothing to be done.
The nominees were confirmed as follows: Erica Strand to be the new Director of Disability and Health, Faith Archer as the Director of Student Group Affairs, Jedidah Pacheco as the Director of Gender and Sexuality, Mariannie Matos as the Director of Academic Affairs and Professional Affairs, Toluwanimi Ademola-Thomas as the Director of Intercultural Affairs, Caleb Sapp as the Director of Programming & Marketing, and Sean Millington as the Director of Civic and Community Engagement.
All nominees except for Millington did not receive any “no” votes. During the roll call for Millington’s nomination, Senators Tishan Roye and Shania Blair voted in the negative.
Senator At-Large Jacob Velasquez abstained from all votes except for Millington’s.
The nomination for Emiliano Torlasco to be the director of Sustainability was tabled after President Jalen Rose said that the nomination had not fully been confirmed.
“The Student Association’s past directors have not been great, and I do not want to be responsible for that. I only voted for Millington because I know him personally and know that he is up to the task,” Velasquez said. “I don’t know these nominees personally, and I can’t say for sure that they are credible.”
Anjalee Modasra, the acting Chair of the Elections Commission announced that the mandatory candidates meeting went smoothly and that campaigning began that night at midnight on Sept. 6. McGrath gave her commendations to all those who are running for open seats.
Both President Rose and Vice President Amelia Crawford announced that this year’s Block Party was very successful, with their biggest student turnout in recent years. Over 3,000 students attended and over 180 student organizations tabled at the event. SA gave out over 1,000 tote bags and T-shirts. Rose also thanked WCDB, UAlbany’s student-run radio station for DJing the event, and he said he looks forward to working with them more in the future.
Both Rose and Crawford have continued their meetings with the university President Havidán Rodríguez, as well as the Vice President of Student Affairs Michael Christakis, Provost Carol Kim, and Athletics Director Mark Benson. Rose addressed the Senators and said that their energy would be better spent elsewhere rather than commenting, though what specific situation they would be commenting on or what those potential comments were was unclear. The two executives also had to reschedule their meeting with Todd Foreman, the Vice President of Finance and Administration.