Student Senate has rejected the student activity fee committee’s (SAFC) proposal to re-elect sophomore Jake Adams, as the SAFC chairperson on two different occassions according to at-large SAFC member, senior Mary Kelliher.
Every spring, applications for SAFC chairperson are open to the public. After public interviews are held, SAFC holds an executive session where a majority consensus determines which applicant will be sent to Student Senate for approval. To be appointed as SAFC chairperson, Student Senate must approve the recommended candidate with a two-thirds majority vote, according to Student Senate Speaker Alex Fries.
Senate’s first down vote was “explicitly for two reasons,” according to Fries. The first, Fries said, was the lack of process in the form of an incomplete application submitted by one of the applicants. The second reasoning being that the committee selected the candidate who they see best for SAFC and student organizations, rather than the student body. Fries added that the second down vote was based solely upon rationale.
“The reasoning that was given with it [the application] was he’s best for orgs, he’s best for the people that are part of the committee,” Fries said. “…a lot of people were taken back by that because the whole purpose of the student activity committee is to help students [the student body] do student activities.”
Student Senate is “technically” responsible for representing the entire student body both on and off campus, according to Campus Activities Board (CAB) Business anager Alex DaPonte. He notes that SAFC is among Student Senate’s constituents and, because of this, should take SAFC’s vote into consideration.
“By voting down the staff chair twice, as a recommendation from SAFC committee is undermining the student body, again, and not taking their constituents into consideration,” DaPonte said.
Adams spoke to his past experience in both SAFC and Student Senate when discussing what qualifies him as SAFC chairperson. He has held the position of business manager for Student Senate, the chief financial officer for SAFC and the treasurer of various student organizations.
“I’ve had experience in every possible realm that there is to have and I feel like that is very important when you’re at the head of an organization, especially an organization with 30 members that come from very diverse backgrounds and they have very diverse responsibilities,” Adams said.
Junior and Student Senate Financial Affairs officer Ian Kyle is also running for the position of SAFC chairperson. He credits the experience he’s gained from this current position as well as finance and analytics knowledge from his business administration major for making him a strong candidate for the position, adding he has out of school experience working with cost analytics “for multiple departments” when he interned for Bosch.
“I’m basically at a point in my life where I’m going to be a senior next year and I want to give back the greater community of UNH in any way possible and I feel like this opportunity to be SAFC chair would allow me to have the biggest positive impact as possible…” Kyle said.
SAFC will meet on April 28, to interview the two candidates for a third time. Their recommendation will be reviewed by Student Senate on April 30, according to Fries. If a consensus is not reached, senior history major and USNH Student Board Representative Lincoln Crutchfield, said there are two options for Student Senate to take. An “avenue” to extend ability of current “stakeholders” that “ceases” on the close of current senate on midnight, April 30. The second, and “not preferable at all” option, according to Crutchfield, would be the student senate speaker-elect appointing an interim chairperson until the committee could reconvene and find a new chairperson.
A petition stating, “student organizations and their leadership have an equally valid if not better grasp on the wishes of the student body, especially as it comes to programing and the expenditures of SAF [student activity fee] funds,” has gained 343 signatures, as of the night of April 26, according to CAB Director Billy Boyce.