Killian Richeson sworn in as SGA Vice President after Anna Dvorak resigns
Student Government Association Vice President Anna Dvorak resigned exactly one week after her inauguration.
SGA President Justin Gawronski, a Macomb junior, announced the resignation at a general assembly meeting shortly after 7 p.m. Monday in Dow Hall room 171. Killian Richeson, a Hesperia senior, was sworn in as the new vice president at the meeting.
The administration of Gawronski and Dvorak, an Alma junior, came under criticism in its first week from Treasurer Tony Grettenberger and three members of the House and Senate. Those allegations, regarding bylaw violations, led to the formation of three committees.
"I think as a whole, we will continue to focus on ... the relevancy of the SGA," Gawronski said. "My broad goals are going to stay the same, but with Killian as my vice president, we will be able change more. This is not the way I would (have) liked this to happen, and it wasn't expected, but I am happy with the change."
Gawronski said Dvorak resigned because of personal reasons, which he would not disclose. Gawronski made no connection to the recently-formed review committees. He also would not comment about whether Dvorak would be involved in the SGA in the future.
"I resigned to focus on my personal life," said Dvorak, declining to give further comment.
Richeson recently ran against Gawronski for the SGA presidency, gaining third place with 20 percent of the vote. Gawronski mentioned Richeson's campaign as one of the main reasons he chose him to replace Dvorak.
"He ran a good campaign and has an immense amount of experience with the SGA and all of its positions," Gawronski said. "I cannot think of anyone more qualified for the position."
Gawronski said appointing Richeson to the position will not change his administration's goals, but will allow him to accomplish more.
Richeson has previously served as treasurer and senate leader, and was appointed as the elections director last week by Gawronski. Richeson said he was pleased to gain the position and will use it to improve the internal affairs of the SGA.
"I've been involved with SGA for a long time, and now that I have the chance to serve in a position like this, I'm going to pour everything I have into it," Richeson said. "I'm going to be dedicated to the internal aspects of the SGA in working to possibly clarify and expand upon the bylaws and the constitution so that they are concise, and most importantly, focus on serving the student body."
Four new senators were also confirmed by majority vote, including Dearborn sophomore Candace Grooms, Iron Mountain sophomore Krista Testolin, Farmington Hills sophomore Hannah Keshishian and Wyoming senior Andrea Thompson.
Former SGA President Vincent Cavataio had been set to be confirmed as a senator, but withdrew himself Monday night from the process.
"I withdrew from the process because I understood where some of the senators were coming from in terms of the election," he said. "I fully plan on staying involved next year by running (for the Senate) again."
Cavataio, a Shelby Township senior who will be a graduate student next year, said he fully expects Gawronski's administration to move past Dvorak's resignation, and said he will continue to play an advisory role.
“Justin and Killian are both highly qualified and very capable. They’ll take SGA in the right direction,” he said. "Throughout the rest of the year, I plan on staying involved with Justin, helping him with the transition."
The Gawronski administration came under fire by Senate and House members last week because of how the senators following multiple appointments, which was allegedly in violation of Bylaw Article II Section 1, which in part states, “A Senate seat that becomes vacant shall be filled by the General Board."
The complaints also address recent appointments made by the Gawronski administration to previously appoint Richeson as elections director and Grosse Pointe junior Anthony J. Smith as membership director only 45 minutes after their inauguration, as well as appointing Cavataio as the graduate student representative in the Senate.
The complaints alleged the Gawronski administration was filling governmental positions with friends and supporters. The administration was also accused of violating Bylaw Article V Sections 7 and 9, which require a campus-wide application process in selecting an elections director, one that complaints said couldn't have been achieved in the 45 minutes it took to appoint Richeson and Smith.
Gawronski said he will be making applications for the vacant election director position available to students throughout campus this week.
"The campus-wide application has not been super-enforced in the past," he said. "I want to start with writing an application that goes out to students campus-wide, so that I can best fulfill the SGA Bylaws."
The SGA has responded to the recent allegations by forming three new committees. The first, the review committee, is composed of the treasurer, two senators and two House representatives randomly chosen by the House and a representative of the Office of Student Life. Grettenberger has previously stated he will step down from the committee because of personal bias. The review committee will review the constitutionality of the recent actions taken by the Gawronski administration.
Also formed was the constitution committee, which will review the constitution and deem if any changes should be made, and the ad hoc committee, which will focus on student concerns outside of the constitution.
Both committees, as stated in the bylaws, will be chaired by Richeson and composed of representatives from both the Senate appointed by Richeson and members of the House appointed by the Speaker of the House, Westland junior Patrick O’Connor.
All three committees were formed Monday night after the House and Senate meetings. Appointees to both committees have yet to be announced.
O'Connor said he is pleased the senators were confirmed by the House despite the controversy.
"I am glad that the senators were confirmed," O'Connor said. "They are all hard working, dedicated students and they should not be penalized due to what is out of their control."
Testolin said the SGA did nothing wrong in selecting and confirming her as a senator.
"I understand the frustration that some of the senators have who did the work and had the signatures," she said. "But at the same time, we should be utilizing the students and talents available in the SGA."
Richeson said the recent allegations are a positive sign of growth for the SGA.
"I've been a part of previous administrations where the administration severely violated the constitution and nobody cared," he said. "I think this is exciting and healthy. I'm glad to see the amount of attention this is getting. We have never had to use the review committee before, and it will only help the SGA improve"