The Student Association Rules Committee rejected three of President-elect Phil Robinson’s cabinet nominees and accepted five Monday night. The decision, which was kept under wraps until early Thursday morning, has Robinson worried that hurt feelings from a contentious election are manifesting in Senate action.
Most notably, the committee rejected former SA presidential candidate Dani Greenspan for vice president of undergraduate policy. Greenspan, who won 18 percent of the student vote, supported Robinson when the election went to a run-off between Robinson and Josh Singer. The four members who rejected Greenspan ran on Singer’s “Working for Us” slate. One member voted for Greenspan, and the two graduate members did not show because of schedule conflicts.
“It raises some issues that obviously will be addressed,” Robinson said, adding that he did not want to speculate about the five-member committee’s motivation to reject Greenspan.
Rules Committee Chairman J.P. Blackford (G-SEAS) said he did not think politics played into the position, adding that Greenspan’s lack of GW leadership hurt him the most.
“If this is the slates fighting with each other, we could have rejected all of Robinson’s nominations. We didn’t,” he said, adding that the passage percentage was not unusual.
Greenspan said he is disappointed by the decision.
“I think I have a lot of leadership experience,” he said. “I have been president of a youth group of 200 members . Leadership is the same everywhere you go.”
Robinson said he plans to have Greenspan work as his summer vice president of undergraduate policy and hopes to “present a better case” next fall, when the Rules Committee will vote on the three open spots.
Blackford cited Josh Singer, the current executive vice president, as an example of a student who was initially rejected for a cabinet position but accepted in the fall after work over the summer. But he said unlike Greenspan, Singer only lacked knowledge of the SA. He said getting GW leadership is a different story.
“That’s not something you can gain over the summer,” Blackford said.
Robinson said he will “scrutinize” the Rules Committee report to see the reasons senators gave for rejecting three nominees. He said that while there is “not a mutual like” between Greenspan and “Working for Us” senators, the campus clearly wants him to be part of the SA.
“Almost 20 percent of the campus . wants him involved in at least some way,” he said.
The confirmed cabinet members are: Seth Goldman for public affairs, Julia Leikin for financial affairs, Alice Lingo for community affairs, Melissa Tiarks for academic affairs and Francisco Semaio for graduate policy.
New Senate appoints committees
SA Vice President-elect Eric Daleo rapped the gavel to begin a new Senate meeting for the first time last week, as new senators gathered to form committees for next year.
The Senate-elect members, who will be inaugurated May 3, filled two vacant seats, elected committee chairs and formed four committees for finance, rules, academic affairs and student life.
The positions were open because Christian Salmon (G-SEAS) and Kimberly Switlick (G-SPHHS) tied for their positions during the general election.
Assistant Vice President of Student Academic Support Services Michael Gargano welcomed the Senate-Elect to office. Daleo said he invited Gargano to the meeting to remove friction between the SA Senate and the administration. Gargano extended an “open door policy” to the Senate, meaning members are always welcome to talk to him in his Marvin Center office.
In a brief welcome speech to the new Senate, Robinson focused on “communication and expectation.”
Robinson proposed that Senate members take a pro-active role during Colonial Inauguration to get to know the newest members of the student body. Senators commented that they accomplished their first order of business in record time – the meeting ended by 11 p.m., although meetings usually run until midnight.
The Senate elected committee chairs and divided members into the four committees, each composed of six senators and one chair.
Singer spoke on newly-elected Finance Chair Dan Moss’s behalf, saying Moss “revitalized the way finance is done” this year.
The Senate also named Blake Newark (G-CCAS) chair of the Academic Affairs committee, which deals with student concerns about advising, library resources and faculty relations. Kris Hart (U-at large) will head the Student Life committee, which handles issues relating to Greek-letter life, heath, safety and dining.