Student Government president to fill 3 of 4 vacant positions, 1 appointee approved

Mackenzie Sullivan, News Reporter

Student Government voted on three executive board appointments submitted by SG President Kiara Kabbara at an assembly meeting Tuesday. The legislature approved one of the three appointees, but a supreme court hearing could nullify the approved appointee.

At the end of October, students grew frustrated with SG’s lack of transparency regarding its budget, as well as its affiliation with Tejas Club, a student organization with sexual assault allegations. Amidst the growing conflict, four executive board members stepped down from their positions.

To approve an appointee and fill the empty roles, 24 votes were needed to reach a two-thirds majority approval. Ubah-Kamilo Moallim, the chief of staff appointee, received 28 approval votes while vice president appointee Willie Crawford and administrative director appointee Samantha Burg received 22 approval votes respectively. 

Multiple representatives voted “no” to the appointees or abstained from the vote altogether. Braxdon Cannon, speaker of the assembly, said abstentions and disapproval votes on appointments are typically unheard of because the SG Code of Rules and Procedures states evidence must be presented showing why the appointee cannot properly fulfill their duties. Those who abstained or voted no did not present their evidence on why.

“I’ve never heard of an appointment failing,” said Cannon, a mathematics and sustainability studies sophomore. “Most of the time no questions are even asked of the assembly. If there are any questions asked, they are usually very well-intentioned.”

Walker Adams, the representative from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, brought up a point of order at the meeting, which said Kabbara did not provide sufficient documents about the appointees 72 hours before the meeting, as required in the code. 

Kabbara provided the assembly with the appointees’ resumes and notes from their interviews which Cannon sent to the assembly Jan. 18, a week before the assembly voted on the appointees. Adams said these documents did not give representatives enough information to make an informed decision and suggested that the documents should have included a statement of interest or questionnaire to give representatives a fuller picture of who the appointee was. 

“Given that these are positions that students are going to be receiving several $1,000 from the University for serving in, I believe that there should be probably more than just a simple resume provided,” Adams said. 

Cannon and the parliamentarian Helen Getachew overruled Adams’ motion, citing the extreme measures SG is currently in. Adams then filed for a hearing with the SG Supreme Court regarding the point of order and other violations. 

The hearing took place Jan. 30, and a decision should be reached within the next few days. If the court upholds Adams’ point of order, all of the votes from the previous meeting will be nullified.

First-year representative Arianna Zhao said she respects the decision of those who abstained from voting on the appointments but feels that the vacant executive board positions need to be filled so the assembly can focus on legislation. 

“I think the controversies that were brought up in November were good points, and it was a needed conversation,” Zhao said. “I think that there have been like really good things that have come out of it, but right now, it feels like some of the attention has been detracted from other pieces of legislation.”