After initial rejection, ASG selection committee presents same nominee for co-vice president for student life

Erica Snow, Assistant Campus Editor

SESP sophomore Sumaia Masoom will again be presented as the nominee for co-vice president for student life in Associated Student Government Senate on Wednesday after senators rejected her nomination last week, causing concerns from other applicants that their support for the opposing presidential ticket contributed to their not being nominated.

During last Wednesday’s meeting, some senators questioned the nomination of Masoom because she has not been involved with the student life committee. They also questioned her ability to represent the entirety of the student body given her support for Northwestern Divest. Masoom said at the meeting last week she could withhold her personal beliefs to represent whatever the majority of campus wanted. Her nomination fell short by one vote.

Senate confirmed SESP junior Anna DiStefano as a co-vice president for student life to replace McCormick junior Wendy Roldan. The position has traditionally been held by one person, but senators amended the ASG Code to allow for two co-vice presidents at last Wednesday’s meeting.

Both Masoom and DiStefano publicly endorsed ASG president Christina Cilento, a SESP junior, and executive vice president Macs Vinson, a McCormick junior, when they ran for their offices in April.

Medill sophomore Isabel Schwartz applied for the position after senators rejected Masoom’s nomination. But when she heard she wasn’t nominated, Schwartz said she wondered if her support for the opposing presidential campaign of Weinberg junior Joji Syed and Weinberg sophomore Archit Baskaran was a factor in the decision.

Schwartz said she has been involved with the student life committee since fall of her freshman year. Masoom said during her confirmation hearing she has not been involved with the student life committee.

While Schwartz said she is ultimately glad she didn’t receive the nomination due to its time commitment and hopes Masoom will be confirmed, she said she was initially disappointed when she received the email from chief of staff Isaac Rappoport notifying her that she wasn’t the nominee.

“It’s easier to work with people you already know support you than people who might push back more or not be fully in line with your vision for ASG,” Schwartz said. “There are political implications or causes behind it on some level, but I don’t think that was it entirely.”

SESP sophomore Josh O’Neil, who was Syed’s campaign manager, applied for the position when applications were first open but did not reapply after Masoom’s nomination was rejected.

O’Neil, who said he has never served on the student life committee, said he didn’t think he was passed over solely because of his affiliation with the Syed ticket, but that he was “disappointed” with Masoom’s potential nomination.

“Any winning ticket has the right to fill the exec board with the people they want,” O’Neil said. “Something that is somewhat troubling to me is that, in some cases, maybe not the most qualified person got the position.”

Rappoport and Cilento said the campaign that an applicant supported was not a factor. Rappoport, a Weinberg junior, said the selection committee had people that endorsed both campaigns or neither of the campaigns, and that led to a more fair selection process.

Rappoport and Cilento declined to comment on the deliberation about candidates, but Rappoport said involvement in the student life committee could be seen as both a positive and a negative, and that he admired Masoom’s vision for improving student life, specifically for marginalized students.

“Each time she re-interviewed, I felt her sincerity even more vividly,” Rappoport said. “That is something that can be missed in talking in front of Senate for 20 minutes. I think that it will shine through (Wednesday).”

In an email obtained by The Daily, Rappoport wrote to Schwartz that the “candidate pool was very competitive.” Rappoport declined to comment about the number of applications received for the position.

Experience in a given committee was only one factor considered when reviewing applications, Cilento said.

“Even if I, as president, were really pulling for certain people, my vote is, at the end of the day, only one vote,” Cilento said. “Macs and I weighed each candidate based on the same qualities and the rest of the selection committee did as well. Who we ended up choosing was not based on any sort of political allegiance.”

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