Outgoing chairwoman blast Senate fairness in farewell

Elaine Helm

In an impassioned speech to the Associated Student Government Senate on Wednesday night, Jada Black, outgoing external relations chairwoman, expressed her “disgust and disappointment” with the new Executive Board.

“I’m really sorry I can’t give a happy goodbye tonight,” said Black, a Medill junior. “I have genuine concerns about their professionalism. I wonder if they will put students first or their egos first.”

Black lost her bid for reappointment as external relations chair to Ben Cherry, former candidate for executive vice president and Chapin Hall senator. She said she believes her criticism of ASG in a column in The Daily last month built up a grudge against her among ASG officers.

“My relationship with ASG is a professional one, not a personal one, and I assumed that other members of ASG are mature enough to handle criticism,” she said.

ASG President Rachel Lopez and former President Jordan Heinz, who both decided Cherry’s appointment, said they considered the public airing of internal ASG problems a detriment because it could hurt Executive Board members’ working relationships.

“If you have a problem with how things are going in ASG you take it to the board,” said Heinz, an Education senior. “That’s how any effective governing organization works.”

But Black said she alerted board members of her concerns and remained unsatisfied.

“There comes a time when you can’t look to ASG to provide all the answers for you,” she said. “And that’s when you need to extend a question to the student body and ask for their input.”

Black also said Lopez asked inappropriately personal questions during her interview for the position and that Black should have been included in the interviewing process for other candidates according to ASG’s bylaws.

“I think that it’s essential to have the person who has had the position before to have input in the decision-making process,” Black said. “No exception is written in the constitution (for a former officer who is re-applying for the position).”

Still, Heinz said precedent determined the decision to exclude Black from the process. Last year, Kate Duffy re-applied for campus public relations chair and did not sit in on other candidates’ interviews. She retained the position.

Lopez said Cherry’s knowledge about technology would benefit ASG external relations projects.

“He just had some skills that we felt were missing in the other parts of the Executive Board,” Lopez said.

One of Black’s committee members said Cherry’s appointment was deserved.

“I don’t think it hurts anything Jada accomplished last year,” said Brian Miller, a Weinberg sophomore. “And I hope her bitterness wears off, because there are still a lot of things she can accomplish on this campus.”

In addition to picking Cherry, Heinz and Lopez appointed Joel Richlin, former Arts Alliance senator, to campus public relations chair and Adam Russell to technology director. The officers were sworn in at Wednesday’s meeting.