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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Student Senate confirms new executive cabinet members

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Photo by Ishika Samant

The student senate held elections for its 75th session Wednesday, April 6 in the Koldus Building. 

The 75th Session of the Texas A&M Student Senate met on Wednesday, April 20, for the last time before the meeting of the joint session on April 27, electing a new Legislative Relations Committee chair and confirming Student Body President Case Harris’ new executive vice president and executive vice president of operations.
However, this meeting was not without its share of drama. After Noble Udoh, a public health junior, was confirmed unanimously as the executive vice president, agricultural communication and journalism sophomore Mamie Hertel was set to give her presentation on why she should be confirmed as chief of staff. Before her presentation could begin, Speaker Pro Tempore Brandon Ray, a political science freshman, moved to extend the meeting into an executive session.
Previously, executive sessions had only been allowed when the Student Senate was dealing with matters of impeachment and censure. At the last meeting of the 74th Session, however, a bill was passed, allowing the senate body to move into an executive session for any purpose by a nine-tenths majority vote. This was the first instance of the new provision being put into practice.
If the meeting were to be moved into an executive session, then all guests would be asked to leave, the Facebook livestream would be stopped and senators would not be allowed to discuss the events of the meeting. Ray said due to discussions of the nominee’s character, he felt that this was best.
The motion to move into executive session failed, but was brought up again by Sen. Ben Fisher, a business administration sophomore. This second motion also failed and Hertel gave her presentation, highlighting her experience in the Student Government Association, being a part of former SBP Natalie Parks’ cabinet, and her experience working with the Future Farmers of America.
After a period of questioning, in which no senators asked Hertel about the accusations that the motion to move into executive session concerned her, Hertel left the room and a period of debate followed. Sen. Corbitt Armstrong, a general engineering freshman, came to the floor to explain what these accusations were.
“There were two cabinet members that left [under SBP Parks],” Armstrong said. “There were reports that were brought to my attention that the candidate had some role in that process.”
Two members of Parks’ cabinet were in the room. After motions were made to grant them speaking privileges, Udoh and Tori Davis, a political science and Spanish junior, clarified the situation. Udoh explained no single person could be held responsible for what happened and placed the blame on himself.
“I can’t say that there’s any specific individual that was responsible for anything based on my experience,” Udoh said. “If anyone should be blamed for this, I think it should be me. Because I should have established a clear set of expectations, and that’s what good leaders do.”
The details of this situation were unclear from what was discussed in Wednesday’s meeting. 
Despite these comments and others made by senators who knew Hertel, her confirmation failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed, only garnering a vote of 30-20 in a secret ballot.
After this, business junior Kate Scaief was confirmed as the executive vice president of operations under SBP Harris.
In addition to executive confirmations, Sen. Patrick Englehart, a political science sophomore, was elected as the new Legislative Relations Committee chair for the Student Senate. Englehart talked about the policies that he wants to advocate for in this role, including increasing access to open source textbooks, good samaritan laws and making it easier to transfer credits from other universities into A&M.
 

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