The Associated Students of Michigan State University 54th Session met for the first time last night, and they got a taste of what a long ASMSU meeting is like.
With several items on the agenda that required considerable debate, everyone in the conference room was prepared for a long night.
One of the more notable results of the night was the passing of the ASMSU budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year with only a minor change.
Some representatives looked to take some money away from the Red Cedar Log, MSU’s yearbook.
Those representatives, led by Communication Arts and Sciences Representative Josh Slivensky, said they felt the Red Cedar Log works on a flawed system and that they know how to fix it.
However, they could not gain the support of their fellow representatives and the motion fell flat.
This was largely because considerable cuts were previously made to the Red Cedar Log budget by ASMSU Controller Katryna Swider, who insured the right cuts were already made.
A change made to the budget was removing funding from the cellphone charging station in Brody Square.
The charging station is well past outdated, as it uses chargers that iPhones no longer use. It will not be removed, but it will no longer have a budget for any required maintenance.
With only this minor change, the 54th Session passed its first bill, 54-01, to approve the 2017-18 budget.
Following budget discussions, Chief of Staff Sam Terzich took the position of chair and led the General Assembly through the process for electing the Office of the President positions.
The GA decided on using a closed ballot system in order to lower outside influence on votes, but the ballots will be revealed after all positions are filled on Wednesday night.
The first two elections, for ASMSU president and the vice president for finance and operations, were uncontested and didn’t include much questioning or discussion from the GA.
Incumbent President Lorenzo Santavicca was the only candidate running for president, and Dan Iancio was the only candidate running for vice president for finance and operations.
To begin the voting process, Santavicca spoke to the GA about why they should reelect him.
In his speech, Santavicca talked about the successes his assembly saw this past year.
“This past year we’ve celebrated many successes along with our recognizable challenges,” Santavicca said. “We’ve moved the needle on advocacy work, launched initiatives and brought newfound recognition recently for our student government with some of our highest voter turnout.”
After going into closed session to come up with questions for Santavicca, the GA asked Santavicca only one question: What are his biggest weaknesses as a leader and how has he strengthened them?
Santavicca talked about some of his weaknesses including, “trying to look across the board as a whole and recognize the points in which we can delegate to different areas of the organization.”
After Santavicca’s election, in an attempt to shorten the already long meeting, the GA voted to give the vice president for finance and operations position to Iancio without a vote.
After the first two uncontested races were taken care of, it came to the race for vice president for academic affairs.
The three candidates were James Madison College Representative Ewurama Appiagyei-Dankah, Business College Representative Stephen Brown and Assistant to the President for Academic Affairs Dylan Westrin.
Appiagyei-Dankah gave her speech first and talked about why she feels she is a good fit for the position because of her experiences as resident and teaching assistants.
Appiagyei-Dankah said, “On top of allowing me to build relationships with administration, these roles have instilled in me a strong passion for improving the experiences of all MSU students.”
Next up was Brown, who gave a speech about his experiences being the representative for the International Students Association.
“In that capacity, I was really able to refine my skills and identify student needs and understand what a community that I don’t necessarily consider myself a part of comes from,” Brown said.
Finally, Westrin spoke about his experiences working in the Academic Affairs office for the majority of this semester.
“With the nature of my position since January, it has really precluded me from much, if any, authority, but that didn’t stop me from getting work done,” Westrin said.
After all three candidates gave their short speeches to the General Assembly about their qualifications and plans for the position, the GA went into closed session for close to an hour to discuss what they heard from the candidates.
As the clocked ticked closer and closer to taking this meeting into the next day, the votes were counted. Appiagyei-Dankah won the position as Vice President for Academic Affairs.
With this, the meeting concluded and congratulations were shared with those who were elected to Office of the President seats.
The Office of the President elections continue on Wednesday night at Student Services, the meeting starts at 7p.m.