Ceci Cain, president of Student Council and fourth-year College student, led the first general body meeting of her administration Tuesday. After introducing members of the executive board, the representative body heard and approved leadership nominations for the upcoming year.
After brief introductions from the new executive board, Student Council moved into legislative session which was led by third-year College student Gaby Hernandez. During a closed meeting Monday, members of the representative body voted to re-elect Hernandez as chair, meaning she will serve on Student Council’s executive board for the following year.
Hernandez expressed excitement about working with Cain for another year.
“I worked with Ceci last year and a lot of her goals in terms of helping out with marginalized communities where they haven't been supported in the past — especially by Student Council, an organization that's predominantly white,” Hernandez said. “We're now … making space for marginalized students, and so I think my personal values really align with the administration's values.”
Cain’s first nominee was third-year Batten student Holly Sims for chief of cabinet. The chief of cabinet aids in creating and advocating for policies. Sims was appointed with 11 votes in favor, no votes against and one abstention.
Fourth-year Batten student Avneet Chhabra was then appointed as director of University communications with 10 votes in favor, no votes against and two abstentions. The director of University communications manages Student Council’s work with the press, the University and the University community.
Second-year College student Tichara Robertson was then appointed chief of Support and Access Services, with 11 votes in favor, no votes against and one abstention. Robertson will lead the Support and Access Services branch throughout its second year of existence in providing students with material items, transportation to and from airports, a food pantry, medical services and support for an ongoing capital campaign.
Cain said she was pleased with the candidates and the diverse representation in the leadership team.
“I'm incredibly impressed,” Cain said. “These people are incredibly smart and talented. One of my biggest things is being able to represent diverse communities across the student body, and I think with this leadership team … is genuinely embedded in the communities that need these resources and will be the best points of access and understand how best to guide them in the future.”
Riley Reynolds, vice president for organizations and third-year College student, then presented her nominees for the organizations branch, which oversees procedural, bureaucratic and administrative support for CIOs on Grounds. Reynolds’ three nominees were appointed with 10 votes in favor, no votes against and two abstentions.
Jaden Evans, vice president for administration and third-year College student, then presented his appointments for the administration branch, which oversees the internal operations of Student Council. Evans’ seven nominees were appointed with 11 votes in favor, no votes against and one abstention.
On behalf of Sims, Cain nominated 15 directors to serve on the President’s Cabinet, who were approved with an 11-0 vote with one abstention. Cain also appointed six individuals to Support and Access Services on behalf of Robertson, who were appointed on an 11-0 vote with one abstention.
After the completion of all appointments, the legislative body debated the merits of creating a new executive board position called the Director of Funding Reform and Support. Before opening the floor to questions, Cain explained the need for the position, citing a 27-page brief created by Student Council’s Data Science Committee outlining the organization’s systemic shortcomings in terms of funding multicultural CIOs.
Cain sees Student Council as having committed systemic inequities in funding multicultural organizations and with the support of the previously mentioned brief has narrowed these issues down to a pipeline issue and difficulty in navigating the funding process. This person would have a uniquely created position specifically for the sake of focusing inward on Student Council’s funding practices with a hope of preventing further funding inequities.
“[Student Council] is an incredibly large and bureaucratic organization and as our vice president for organizations kind of runs everything else related to CIOs, we’ll need someone focusing specifically on change management and the funding issue,” Cain said. “It's become such an issue that I think it needs specialized support, and so that's what we're gonna give it in the next year.”
Several members of the representative body questioned whether the new position was necessary during the meeting. The bill was tabled with no voiced objections, as every bylaw bill to be read twice before hearing a vote. The representative body will vote on the bill next week.
Student Council holds meetings weekly Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the South Meeting Room of Newcomb Hall.