ASG president, VP could run together under amendment

Michael Gsovski

The Associated Student Government’s executive board is about to undergo its second restructuring in two years, if a new constitutional amendment passes.

The amendment, submitted to the ASG Senate on Wednesday, would require the president and vice president, a position created earlier this year, to run on the same ticket and select the executive vice president by Senate-appointed committee rather than election.

Parliamentarian Will Upton said the idea stemmed from the need to incorporate the positions of operations director and vice president, which only existed in the ASG code.

“I felt that there had to be some clarification of where those positions fit in the scheme of government,” the Weinberg senior said.

Upton wrote the amendment several weeks ago, during a meeting with Operations Director Tommy Smithburg.

“The original purpose of the meeting was supposed to be to talk about the game plan of how to do this,” Upton said. “We ended up writing the whole thing.”

Making the president and vice president run together will create better cohesion between them, said President Neal Sales-Griffin, who had input into the draft presented Wednesday.

“I felt that I didn’t really have (a vice president),” the SESP senior said. “Now, we’re positioning it so that the president and vice president are on the same page when they run.”

Others holding the positions affected most by the amendment said they approved of them.

Smithburg said his desire to eliminate the operations director position and allocate its duties to the vice president came from both positions having spare time, which he had been filling with special projects.

“That’s not how you want to do it,” the Weinberg junior said. “It shouldn’t be (the) exec board taking on everything, it should be the senate and students taking on these special projects.”

When asked if he was concerned about increasing the power of an office he may run for, Smithburg said the decision to axe his position had been approved by others, and he specifically refrained from discussions about the vice president’s office.

“I made sure to not get involved in those conversations,” he said.

Current executive vice president Vikram Karandikar said he agreed with the decision to use a senate-selected committee. The McCormick junior said his experience on the campaign trail last year showed him that an election may not select the best person for the job.

“I met with student groups, but it was mostly going to dorms, going to munchies,” Karandikar said. “Sometimes the student body doesn’t understand that when you were on a committee you made X, Y and Z guidelines to make things easier, but student group leaders will.”

For all the large changes to ASG’s structure and operation, ASG’s speaker of the senate, Jack Eichorst, said the amendment’s stylistic change of “vice president” to “chairman” for committee heads was “the biggest hang-up for senators.”

“We were told then we should say ‘chair,’ to keep it gender neutral,” the Weinberg senior said. “I think the consensus is that ‘director’ is the best term, so to distinguish these people from members of the board and give the title more power than ‘chair.'”

An open forum discussing the amendment will be held Friday evening at a location to be announced by ASG later this week.

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