Upon the recent announcement of Olamide Williams’ resignation, the Student Assembly quickly set out to approve the appointment of a replacement representative. According to S.A. charter guidelines, the vacant seat should go to, “… the highest ranked non-winning candidate in the last election from the same constituency,” which this year would be Andrew Brokman ’11.
Brokman, however, was already a voting member of the University Assembly––another governing body within the university––that S.A. heads believed would cause a conflict of interest. Late yesterday, the S.A.’s Executive Committee met to vote on whether Brokman should be allowed to fill the vacated seat.
Executive VP Nikhil Kumar ‘11 explained the concerns that prompted today’s vote. “[The committee] wanted to have a discussion about filling [his] vacancy. Normally it would go to Brokman because he’s next, but the S.A. Charter – section 1.15 says that ‘there are two members that will be selected from and by the membership of the S.A. to serve as voting members of the U.A.’ and it was a question of interpretation of that one clause,” he stated.
He continued, “Brokman would have been the third [UA member appointed] by and from our membership and so that was the cause for concern. We already had two voting members on the UA [from within the SA membership].”
The concerns surrounding the charter’s interpretation prompted the committee to a second vote –– albeit controversially –– on whether to allow Brokman to resign his seat on the UA in order to take the S.A. seat, S.A. President Rammy Salem ’10 explained.
Although the committee voted against allowing Brokman’s resignation by a vote of 2-1-3, Salem acknowledged that there were lingering questions regarding the legitimacy of the vote in the first place. “Do we – the executive committee – have the authority to vote on this? On a matter that is in conflict of the Charter?”
Complicating matters further, yesterday evening –– just hours after the executive committee adjourned –– Brokman took it upon himself to email a letter of resignation from his post at the U.A. to all current members of the S.A. and the U.A. “I regret to inform you that I will no longer be able to serve as a voting member on the University Assembly. … I have been asked to fill a vacancy on the Student Assembly due to the resignation of [former] VP Olamide Williams,” he wrote.
Brokman did not consult SA members regarding his intention to resign, though his understanding of the executive committee’s decision was clearly a factor.
“I’ve always loved the SA and I feel that I can serve students on this campus more effectively as a member of the SA,” he explained, “I thought by stepping down from the UA, I would be removing a potential conflict of interest because there already are two [other] SA liaisons for the UA.”
Upon receiving word of Brokman’s resignation, Kumar said that yesterday’s vote had become a “moot point.”
We took the vote today on the assumption that he was currently on the UA. His resignation changes everything,” Salem added.
Prior to Brokman’s resignation, the vote would have been up for appeal during Thursday’s SA meeting, where it could have been overturned by a 2/3 majority. In light of Brokman’s premature resignation, however, Salem stated that the SA was uncertain what step to take next without violating proper procedure.
“So, at this point, tomorrow the plan is that I’ll go to the Office of Assemblies and hopefully he’ll tell us how to best abide by the charter … but it could get complicated,” he said.
Original Author: Keri Blakinger