Senate rejects two, approves six for Narla cabinet

Student Association President-elect Ashwin Narla defends his eight cabinet appointees at a meeting Monday. Bryan Hoechner | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporters Kaya Yurieff and Chloe Sorvino

The Student Association Senate confirmed six out of eight candidates to the next year’s executive cabinet after lengthy and raucous rounds of questioning meeting Monday.

Junior Alex Akel and senior Matt Hellman were rejected by the SA Senate for the positions of vice president of financial affairs and vice president of graduate student policy, respectively.

The senate scrutinized both candidates for their close ties to SA President-elect Ashwin Narla — Akel is Narla’s roommate and Hellman is a friend from Colonial Cabinet  — but Narla defended his “highly qualified” picks.

“Honestly, I thought Alex was an exceptional candidate. Everyone who was outside of this committee knew he brought a lot to the table. Alex was trying to prove he was Alex, not my roommate,” Narla said. “I trust the senators to make a decision not based on surface issues.”

Hellman will be a graduate student in the fall, but some senators expressed concerns the current senior lacked experience as a graduate student.

Narla defended Hellman’s nomination, arguing that the other graduate student candidates did not have an application that was “up to standard.”

Sen. Jake Chervinsky, graduate At-large said the candidate was not suited for the position.

“You need to be a graduate student to understand the issues. At least take the time to find a graduate that’s qualified. Don’t just confirm the first nomination,” Chervinsky said.

In the two and a half hour long meeting, four appointees were unanimously approved. Jordan Hill, Ben Leighton, Julia Susuni and James Ferguson were confirmed as vice president of academic affairs, vice president of undergraduate student policy, vice president of public affairs and vice president of legislative and judicial affairs, respectively.

Leighton, who also lives with Narla, bid unsuccessfully for the executive vice president position this year. He also served as the chair for the Student Dining Board this year.

“The fact that we do know each other makes us already a good team,” Leighton said.

Patrick Kennedy was confirmed as vice president of community affairs and Aidan Walshe was confirmed as the SA Representative to the Marvin Center Governing Board.

Narla said he will submit new nominees for the two unfilled positions this week.

The Senate-elect also passed its first bill, which confirmed slight changes made to the student organization funding process that was approved at last week’s meeting of the current senate, such as limiting student groups’ year-end spending on end-of-the-year dinners.

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