When talking about their goals for next year, members of Student Body President-elect Mary Cooper’s team of executive branch officers bring up familiar themes.
Encourage greater student involvement. Make student government more efficient. Improve communication with Student Congress.
But one distinguishing feature of this team — that two members are rising juniors — has required the reinforcement of another message: Cooper is the only student body president, current or future, among them.
After a student election season in which Student Body Secretary Ian Lee drew criticism for not resigning before running for student body president, the soon-to-be executive branch officers want to avoid any perception of further ambition among them.
Cooper’s picks for student body vice president and student body secretary — sophomores Zealan Hoover and Adam Jutha, respectively — both said there is no chance they will run for student body president next year.
“I really want to be with Mary through this whole thing,” Hoover said via Skype from Cambodia, where he is attending the UNESCO Youth Peace Ambassador Training Workshop. “It’s not in the cards right now.”
Jutha said he has never considered running for student body president.
Any confusion as to whether an executive branch officer is required to resign before taking part in a campaign has been largely eliminated. Student Congress recently passed a bill that clarifies the relevant passage in the Student Code that forbids any executive branch officers from being involved in any campaign.
Cooper said she expects that neither Hoover nor Jutha will run for her position next year, but that she has made sure they are aware of the requirements in the Student Code.
“I am not expecting to ever have to have that conversation with either of them,” she said.
Zach Dexter, Cooper’s appointee for student body treasurer, and Jutha appeared Friday before the rules and judiciary committee of Student Congress for approval to the full body. Cooper represented Hoover.
Hoover and Jutha were approved without prejudice, and Dexter was recommended favorably. Dexter and Jutha will appear before Student Congress on Tuesday. Hoover will appear via Skype, he said. Appointees require a two-thirds majority for approval.
At the meeting, Deanna Santoro, former speaker of Student Congress, pointed out that Jutha had referred to student government as “a joke” to her in the past.
Jutha denied that statement in the meeting, but said he has been frustrated with student government’s isolation in the past.
“I do at times find student government works in a bubble or as a silo on this campus,” he said Saturday.
Santoro, who challenged Lee’s candidacy in the Student Supreme Court in February, said the body is more likely to reject an appointee than in the past two years because it has more experienced members.
“I don’t think that it necessarily will happen, but it could,” she said.
“I don’t think (Student) Congress is afraid to piss anyone off this year.”
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