SG executive members asked to resign following vote of no confidence

Kaushiki Roy, News Reporter

CW: sexual assault

UT’s Student Government Assembly approved a vote Tuesday to recommend the student body president and the two remaining executive board members resign from their current positions.

“The executive board has been a poor advocate for the well-being of students,” said Angelica Montez, Longhorn EMS agency director, during the meeting. “And after recent events, we do not believe the current administration is effective … with regards to (the) lack of transparency allocating funding, corresponding on issues of misconduct as well as ineffective communication to SG (members).”

The assembly asked student body president Kiara Kabbara, financial director Grant Marconi and communications director Madison Brown to resign based on a lack of communication, failure to be transparent and mishandling of sensitive allegations over the past couple of weeks. Brown said she will not resign regardless of the vote, while Kabbara and Marconi have not indicated what they will do following the vote of no confidence.

“I won’t resign,” Brown said. “I believe that resignation for myself is a sign of failure. I do not believe you can fail unless you decide to give up. I won’t give up.”

Last Friday, former vice president Ethan Jones resigned effective immediately after students brought allegations of harassment and sexual assault against him. Former advocacy director Mackenzie Smith and former chief of staff Meera Sam have since filed a Title IX case against Jones. Former administration director Nicolas Gonzalez resigned Nov. 1 because of his affiliation with the Tejas Club, which has multiple sexual assault allegations and Title IX cases against it. Smith and Sam resigned two weeks ago after they said their concerns about the allegations against Jones and Gonzalez went unheard.

Additionally, representatives from multiple agencies including Longhorn EMS, Moody College and the Transfer Students Association spoke against the executive board, addressing its lack of transparency and communication to its student body and student agencies.

Two weeks ago, nutrition senior Antony Rodriguez posted a copy of the SG budget report on his social media, sparking controversy among students on SG’s lack of transparency regarding their finances. Rodriguez said members of the executive board behaved aggressively toward him after he posted the reports and unnecessarily brought up private affairs.

Members of the student body also spoke during the open forum. Mathematics and chemistry senior Maria Henriquez said she believes SG members have burned too many bridges to regain students’ confidence.

“I’m very disappointed in the lack of accountability that the executive board has had in these past two weeks,” Henriquez said. “These past few weeks have really felt like one PR stunt and as a member of the student body, imagine how tired we are. I voted for you all and hoped that you would best represent the students and be more accountable, … but all you did is best represent yourself and your agendas.”

Financial director Grant Marconi sits in Tuesday evening’s UT Student Government Assembly. Marconi’s vote of no confidence passed with 17 votes. Julius Shieh/ The Daily Texan

Before the votes of no confidence were motioned Trip Davis, the Graduate Student Assembly President, moved to stop the vote on the grounds that the legislation was over 200 words, which is unconstitutional. After the assembly deliberated further, the objection was overturned and the vote of no confidence continued as usual.

Kabbara’s vote passed with 21 votes, while Brown’s vote of no confidence passed with 24 votes and Marconi’s vote was passed with 17 votes.

During the debate prior to voting, Smith said Marconi was accused of participating in hazing by anonymous students. Smith said she couldn’t give many details about the incident due to an active Title IX case against him. Marconi denied these allegations.

Smith said the executive members repeatedly ignored her questions and concerns about the sexual assault allegations that students brought forth against Jones.

“Kiara, when I came to you two weeks ago with my concerns, I was ignored,” Smith said. “Those allegations deserve your attention, deserve your care, your alarm and your swift action regardless of what else is going on. Every survivor in this room, on this campus and more broadly, deserves to be heard, to be validated and to be supported.”

The assembly also passed legislation to hold a special election on Dec. 7 where all UT students will be able to vote for the remaining three executive members to resign.