By Cheyenne Graden and Lydia LaSure; The Whetstone
Three members of the Student Government Association resigned their positions early this semester and were replaced within two weeks.
The Student Government Association president Jamal Earls, Secretary Myasia Davis and Treasurer Autumn Brown resigned.
The new members include Vice President Kelsey Fitzpatrick, Secretary Christina Roe, and Treasurer Nichole Naprsteck.
“I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Student Government Association President effective January 18, 2019,” former President Jamal Earls wrote in an email to students. “Thank you for the support and the opportunities that you have provided me during this year.”
This came as a shock for some students coming back from winter break, who said they believed there were already serious issues with SGA.
“There had already been a lack in SGA communication,” senior Lauralynn Richardson said.
“Even before the SGA board was put into the office, I knew there was going to be an issue because in spring 2018 there was an email sent out about improper voting,” junior Cortey Holder said.
Proper voting is either voting completely on your own, or having someone else vote on your behalf or by proxy. But a candidate cannot tell a voter whom to vote for. Nor may a candidate witness them voting.
“It has come to my attention that there may have been some improper voting in the recent SGA election,” SGA advisor Dr. Jack Barnhardt said in an email a year ago. “If you personally experienced or witnessed any improper voting, it’s important you speak up by emailing Dean Anderson.”
Some students said the timing of the three resignations was weird.
“I feel that they left at a bad time,” junior Alexis Bynum said. “They should have sent out an email during the break instead of sending an email before classes started.”
“I feel like the SGA changes are throwing everyone off because, at the end of the semester, we finally had gotten everything on track,” junior Sydney Brokenbourough said. “We were all excited for the new semester to come back and work with each other. I feel like these changes have only put paperwork, money and event approvals on hold with three positions recently being filled.”
Brokenbourough said she was afraid budgets for student organizations may be put on hold.
“As an Alpha Phi Omega member, all of our service events are now on hold because the people who handle these processes are no longer in office,” she said. “This also affects our budgets for the spring semester.”
Student Life Dean Wanda Anderson said she was sad to hear of the three resignations.
“I want to see the SGA continue to work effectively with the student body,” she said.
After the resignations, SGA faculty advisor Dr. Jack Barnhardt sent out an email Jan. 23 asking for nominations.
Students had until the following Monday to send in names for the three open positions. After the nominations were received, the voting was scheduled to take place from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6.
On Jan. 29, students were informed that there were only three nominations made so there was no need for an official election, putting Fitzpatrick, Roe and Naprsteck in office.
Some students said they had issues with the changes.
“I am concerned about the new people coming in, in the middle of the semester and the way they will transition into their new positions” Richardson said.
For some students and faculty, the changes were positive.
“I’m all for the changes I feel that things will get done quickly” junior Amber McNear said. “I’m very happy that they are all on the board and I think they will do well.”
“I believe the new members will bring new ideas and new perspectives,” Barnhardt said.
Naprstek said she looked forward to the job.
“From the time I heard about the SGA, I knew I wanted to participate but my schedule prevented me from attending meetings until fall 2018,” Naprstek said. “I never held a position until now.”
Kelsey Fitzpatrick has been on the SGA most of her time here. She was a class representative as a freshman, a secretary when she was a sophomore, and vice president as a junior.
She said she has a mission.
“I want to work on any barriers they have in event planning and do my best to assist them in any way possible,” she said. “Over the past few years, I have planned a few large events and truly learned the workings of the SGA. I want to use that knowledge to take some pressure off the organizations and be an extra hand when needed.”
Naprsteksaid she has a vision of her own.
“What I bring that is different from most other students is the life experience of a military career and the perspective of a 40-plus-year-old,” she said. “What I’m hoping this SGA board can do this term is to provide a way for future students and student orgs to access information about the SGA.”
Some on campus said they were looking forward to the SGA changes.
“ I know that Kelsey was previously on the SGA board and did great during her time so I know she has the experience,” junior Kierra Whitaker said.
Senior Deziyah Palmer, president of the Fairy God Sisters of Delaware, said she hoped for more stability.
“I expect the new treasurer knows what she is doing – and we finish the academic year successfully,” she said.