SGA cabinet confirmations on hold until September


Kloe Witt

A picture of the Student Government Association Hub in the lower level of the Danna Center. SGA did not confirm the cabinet in time for the 2023-24 school year.

Kloe Witt, News Editor

“It’s a shit show,” is how the Student Government Association’s senator for the College of Music and Media, Chloe Bernier, described the current climate of the SGA here at Loyola after they have delayed the confirmation of the cabinet for the 2023-24 school year.

Only three out of the seven candidates were confirmed by the senate in late March. Four of the seven cabinet candidates lost their nomination and failed to reach the minimum vote threshold. An emergency senate meeting scheduled for April 16 to address this issue was later canceled.

Voting pressure

To confirm candidates, each member of the senate has three options: yay, nay, or abstain. To be confirmed, candidates must receive yays from two-thirds of the senate.

“What made it different this year is that since it was the last senate of the semester, there was a lot of people that were absent as well as there were a lot of abstention from voting, so it wasn’t a full voting count, which is why we had to call a last-minute senate session,” said SGA President Makayla Hawkins.

However, an email sent by the incoming SGA Vice President, Sydney Randall, on April 14 told senators they were not allowed to abstain from the vote, and if they wished to vote no, they had to prepare a reason why in the emergency meeting.

Incoming 2023-24 senator at large Kaley Delker said she felt as though this decision impeded on their rights as senators and was unjust.

“Voting is obviously personal and political,” she said. “You try to keep it as political as possible, but I wanted to vote no on a few people, and I felt very uncomfortable for giving my reasons why.”

Bernier, who was a senator for the College of Music and Media this last school year, also said she felt that this new rule – an authority not granted to the vice president by the senate bylaws – was improper.

“You’re asking someone to explain why they want to say no, and I guess, maybe, they’re entitled to ask that, but you shouldn’t force them,” she said. “It’s a lot of pressure, and it doesn’t feel right for them to have to do.”

There was little to no communication or explanation for why this new guideline was set just days before the emergency meeting, according to Bernier.

“There wasn’t like any talking, from what I’ve seen, about ‘yeah let’s not have the option to abstain,’ or like ‘yeah you’re gonna have to explain yourself if you wanna say no,’ so I didn’t see any negotiation or reasoning about that. Probably because the reasoning would’ve sounded like bullshit,” she said.

Poor communication

This last-minute senate session, however, never happened. On April 15, through email, 2022-23 vice president Viviana Alveraz informed the senate the meeting was canceled.

According to Hawkins, the emergency meeting did not reach the necessary quorum, leading to an even longer delayed vote, which is set to happen at the first senate meeting next semester.

“The decision was made by me, the vice president, and the advisors to just go ahead and doing a conformation in the fall,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins admitted there was no communication among cabinet members.

“There was no discussion had. That was another reason we called for an emergency senate session in order to have more of a discussion to understand what was going on,” she said.

Who are these people?

After submitting applications through Howl Connect and interviews with the president, vice president, and advisors, cabinet appointees are selected based on a rubric score before being voted on by the senate, according to Hawkins.

Delker and Bernier said this year’s confirmation meeting faced various issues, such as insufficient information on multiple candidates.

On top of that, most of the nominees didn’t show up to the meeting, giving no room for senators to ask questions before voting.

“This is the issue. There was no way to prepare for it. They sent us the agenda the day of, and it was like there’s not anything on these candidates. It’s just their names. Like what am I supposed to do, look up their Instagrams and be like, ‘yeah this is who I’m gonna vote for?’” Bernier said.

Former president voted off

Among the unapproved cabinet was the 2022-23 president Stephanie Oblena, who ran to serve as the director of equity and inclusion.

In order to pass, cabinet candidates had to receive 11 yays from the 16 senate members who were in attendance. Oblena only received eight, with five abstentions and three nays, making her the second most voted-against nominee.

Bernier and Delker voiced their displeasure with Oblena’s nomination as director of equity and inclusion, citing their concerns about her performance during her time as SGA president.

One reason they did not agree with Oblena’s nomination as director of equity and inclusion was due to her vetoing bills aimed at increasing accessibility on campus, including a bill drafted by Delker.

“Personally, I don’t think someone who vetoes accessibility bills really deserves to be the equity and inclusion chair,” Delker said.

Bernier recounted an incident where the senate attempted to provide fidgeting tools, such as fidget spinners, pens, and papers for doodling, to help students focus, but Oblena vetoed the bill.

“It’s something so small that we can offer, and it was just like weird to us on why it was being fought against so much,” Bernier said.

Legislative drama

Delker and Bernier mentioned that they felt the SGA had become cliquey over the past year, especially after the flea market veto last semester.

Delker expressed her concern about the possibility of the trend continuing into the next year, particularly in light of the events that took place during the failed cabinet confirmations.

“I think someone’s bullying someone. And I can’t tell if it’s pro staff or if it’s just Makayla trying to bully the rest of us into just getting her cabinet through, but she just realized it wasn’t going to happen,” Delker said.

The future of SGA

The revote and delay of confirmation until September also means that candidates who were confirmed during the initial meeting will have to undergo another vote.

“Due to the fact that that emergency Senate did not reach quorum, all of those votes were rendered null in void, which is why we have to do a reconfirmation during the next senate,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said she isn’t concerned about the effects of the cabinet confirmation being pushed to the fall.

“I feel like it just opens more room for communication between the executive cabinet and the senate. I don’t think that it really affects how we’re gonna be running overall,” she said.

Bernier will be abroad for the fall semester, not allowing her to take a proper role with SGA in that time, though she plans to return in the spring.

She said she is hoping for an easier and more productive year for the new senate.

“That’s just the hope. That things will run smoother. Cause when things don’t run smoothly, nothing gets done,” she said.