113th Student Government Assembly holds first meeting

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Ben Solder, Speaker of the 112th Student Government Assembly and neuroscience senior (left) passes the gavel to junior government and religious studies major Jakob Lucas (right) at the first 113th Assembly meeting on April 2. Lucas was voted to be the new Speaker of the Assembly as members elected and filled a variety of positions.

Photo Credit: Mckenzie Bentley | Daily Texan Staff

The 113th Student Government Assembly convened for the first time at a meeting Tuesday night. Members voted in elections for a variety of positions, including speaker of the assembly and financial affairs committee chair. 

Jakob Lucas, a government and religious studies junior, was nominated for and then voted the new speaker of the assembly, replacing neuroscience senior Ben Solder. Lucas said he wants to promote accessibility, retention, diversity and inclusivity.

“A lot of people think that Student Government’s not transparent,” Lucas said. “I think it is pretty transparent. Our meetings are live-streamed, and our Google Drive is public. It’s just not a lot of people know about those resources, and that’s where accessibility comes in, so I’d like to get a better live-streaming option than someone’s phone … and (make) monthly roundtable meetings where we can talk about SG.”

The assembly elected at-large graduate representative Connor Ellington to the position of rules and regulations committee chair. Vanessa Maria Cruz, University-wide representative, will serve as the student affairs committee chair.

“I was so scared to even get started (in Student Government) that I didn’t really start until my second semester, and I noticed that that’s one of the biggest problems Student Government has,” nutrition senior Cruz said. “And especially now that the majority of the sitting representatives are first term, we need to get excited and get confident early, and so that’s what I’m hoping to bring as a student affairs chair.” 

University-wide representative Michael Pontikes was voted academic affairs committee chair in an election against liberal arts representative Samuel Ng. For financial affairs committee chair, there were three nominees: business representative Isaac Mackzum, social work representative Brennan Caviness and engineering representative Zach Pisarski. No clear majority prevailed in the first election, so members voted in a runoff election between Mackzum and Pisarski. Mackzum won the position.

 

Pisarski was then nominated for governmental affairs chair, along with public affairs representative Christopher Matos and liberal arts representative Jordan Clements. Matos was elected to the position. Clements, University-wide representative Kerry Mackenzie, transfer student representative Colby Jaeger and University-wide representative Nora Balli ran for ethics and oversight committee chair. A runoff election between Clements and Mackenzie took place, and Mackenzie was declared the winner.

“As the ethics chair, I think my focus would not only be to make sure that everybody is living up to the highest standard of being a representative, but also that you want to,” said Mackenzie, a government and Plan II freshman. “Burnout is a real thing. (I want to find) ways that we can show up and really show out, to be enthusiastic about assembly and to be really passionate about the reasons why we’re here.

Additionally, several appointments took place. Ricky Cooks will be chief of staff, Jacqueline Briddell will be communications director, Nikita Telang will be advocacy director, Matthew Kenny will be financial director, Connor Alexander will be administrative director and Angela Kang will be a member of the President’s Student Advisory Council. Another council member appointment will come within the next few weeks, and student body president Camron Goodman will serve as the council’s chair.