February 1, 2010

Olamide Williams ’10 Resigns, Student Assembly to Appoint Alternate Representative

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On Thursday, during the first Student Assembly meeting of the spring semester, S.A. President Rammy Salem ’10 announced that At-Large Representative Olamide Williams ’10, formerly the assembly’s executive vice president, has permanently resigned his seat on the S.A.

Last fall, due to his failure to comply with the attendance policy outlined in the S.A.’s Standing Rules, Williams relinquished his title as executive vice president — the second-highest seat on the assembly and one of only six seats on the S.A.’s executive board — and accepted a position as an at-large representative. At the time Williams cited personal reasons as the cause for poor attendance record.

Rule 3 of the S.A.’s Standing Rules dictates that representatives with three consecutive absences or with more than six total absences throughout the academic year must resign their positions, unless the executive board opts to waive these consequences due to extenuating circumstances. Although Williams was absent for three consecutive weeks, initially he was only demoted rather than being asked to resign completely.

Salem explained the reason for the executive board’s decision in the fall: “Initially we decided to waive the consequences [and not require his complete resignation] but then when discussing the issue with Ola this semester and predicting his potential future absences we decided it would be best to have him step down and give someone else the opportunity who would be able to attend more meetings.”

“It was a mutual decision. We spoke to him and he understood. We explained the circumstances,” Salem said regarding Williams’ resignation. “This is just a difficult semester for a lot of people … there seem to be a lot of family and personal issues going on.”

As a result of Williams’ recent resignation, the S.A. will replace his assembly seat according the the S.A. Charter guidelines. Salem explained, “When a representative resigns or is unable to perform the duties of that office, then the next runner-up in total votes [from the last election] is given the opportunity to replace him or her.”

Current U.A. Rep. Andrew Brokman ’11 was the first runner-up in the At-Large S.A. race and thus will be the first student offered the vacant seat.

“If he doesn’t choose to [take the seat] then we just keep going down the list and keep offering the position to people,” Salem said.

As a result of personal health issues, ultimately resignation became a personal and logistical necessity for Williams, but the decision process was not an easy one. The thought of letting down his constituents and supporters plagued the former Executive V.P. with doubts; he said that disappointing the Cornellians who elected him was, “the biggest reason I was so hesitant to do something like [resign].” He continued, “But then again, how much would you really be doing [for the S.A.] if you weren’t in a position to be doing stuff anymore.” Williams says he has no plans to become involved in other leadership positions or student groups since resigning his assembly seat.

Williams was emphatic that he felt no animosity to — or from — any current S.A. members as a result of his resignation. On the contrary, he was understanding about the necessity of filling his former assembly seat and he expressed support for his replacement, Nikhil Kumar ’11. “S.A. is for everyone, not just for the people in the S.A. and if you can’t do … what you’re there for, you have to let the people who can [do it] take over — people like Nikhil Kumar,” Williams explained.

Although his absence during Thursday’s S.A. meeting brought Williams in violation of the attendance policy outlined in the S.A.’s charter, he made the decision to resign over break, weeks before his most recent violation. Willaims explained, “It was ultimately my idea. It was my decision … I was the one who proposed it, they were there 100 percent … and a couple people didn’t really want [my resignation] to happen.”

Original Author: Keri Blakinger