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Student Council kicks off new administrative term, confirms new executives

The recently elected students comprise Student Council’s 78th administrative and representative body

<p>According to Student Council’s standard procedures, new executive board members must be confirmed through a popular vote across the representative body during a legislative session.</p>

According to Student Council’s standard procedures, new executive board members must be confirmed through a popular vote across the representative body during a legislative session.

Student Council members conducted their first meeting led by the 2024-25 executive board Tuesday, beginning the term by confirming five of the new executive board members. Student Council already confirmed Valentina Mendoza Gonzalez, president and third-year Batten student, Brookelyn Mitchell, vice president for administration and third-year College student, and Ryan Bowers, vice president for organizations and third-year Commerce student at a transition ceremony Sunday. 

The newly confirmed positions included the chief of cabinet, chief of support and access services, director of university relations, director of coalition engagement and rules and ethics chair. According to Student Council’s standard procedures, new executive board members must be confirmed through a popular vote across the representative body during a legislative session, which takes place towards the end of each general body meeting. 

Applications for both executive board and leadership positions opened March 11, with the former closing March 22 and the latter closing March 15. All Student Council representatives were eligible to run for leadership or executive positions.

All but one of the new executive board members were confirmed by a unanimous vote. 

Zayan Meah, first-year College student and representative, was confirmed as the new director of coalition engagement. According to Mendoza Gonzalez, who served in the role prior to Meah, the role can prove difficult. However, she said Meah possesses both the goals and the traits necessary to succeed in it. 

“There's a lot of times where certain initiatives don't [or] can't go through … and you kind of just have to push past it and say I'm working for [the] community,” Mendoza Gonzalez said. “[Putting] your ego aside can be important. Zayan overall wants to give back to communities and that's the central idea of this role.” 

Student Council also confirmed second-year College student Jada Benefield as the new chief of cabinet.  Benefield was previously a member of the cabinet — which is responsible for implementing the president’s goals and policies — where she served as director of community engagement. Now, she will oversee the operation of 11 different agencies and 16 directors. Mitchell held the position prior to Benefield.

Second-year College student Charlotte Schroeder was confirmed as director of University relations, a role tasked with managing external communications from Student Council to the student body. While she did not speak for long at the meeting, Schroder said she feels equipped and prepared for her role on the Council due to her experience as a social media intern for University Recreation and previous membership on Student Council’s marketing committee.

Benvin Lozada, graduate Arts and Sciences student, was confirmed as the new rules and ethics chair with 15 votes and one abstention. During Student Council’s previous term, Lozada served as the graduate Arts and Sciences representative. As rules and ethics chair, he is tasked with ensuring that all representatives are familiar with Student Council rules and procedures, as well as judging alleged violations of Student Council’s constitution and bylaws. Ahead of the vote to confirm him, Lozada said that while the parameters of the rules and ethics chair role were unclear during the past term, he hoped to clarify those responsibilities throughout the year if confirmed.

“[If confirmed], I would chair the rules and ethics board, which would review violations of the constitution and bylaws, but I also hope to not just have it be a punitive entity,” Lozada said. “I want to also help [student council representatives] out”

Finally, Clay Dickerson, previous director of financial accessibility and second-year College student, was confirmed as chief of the Support and Access Services branch. Dickerson said he is excited to continue upon recent progress in expanding and improving upon the services offered by SAS. These recent improvements in the program have been largely supported by a $750,000 endowment that President Jim Ryan allocated to Student Council in the fall, which is designed to be split evenly across three years. 

Before beginning the legislative session which confirmed the new executive board members, Mendoza Gonzalez outlined Student Council’s biggest goals for the upcoming year. One of the key objectives was continuing to lay a long-term foundation for the endowment. Additionally, Student Council said they will continue bolstering equity and access through the work of the Support and Access Services branch, which offers programs such as AirBus and the Textbook Access Office. Another key focus was closing accessibility gaps in the funding received by CIOs on Grounds. 

While most leadership positions have already been decided, Mitchell said due to a few unspecified delays, more leadership bills will be introduced during the legislative session when the Council meets next Tuesday.


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