After the Student Association was notified that one of UB's New York State Student Assembly Delegates, John Haumesser, would not be returning to the university this semester, Sub Board I Inc. President and recently appointed Interim NYSSA Secretary George Pape was appointed to the vacant position.
Because SA's constitution does not specify the process by which a delegate is replaced before the term is complete, SA President Christian Oliver appointed Pape at his discretion.
"There is nothing in our books that says how to reappoint," said Oliver. "I'm looking into it to see if I have the authority to [appoint a new NYSSA delegate]."
Oliver said that until about a week ago SA was unsure whether Haumesser had enrolled at UB for the 2001-2002 academic year, but then received confirmation that Haumesser was not a registered student.
NYSSA delegate Lazslo Kerekgyarto admitted the student body should have been informed of Haumesser's absence at an earlier date.
Oliver said he has contacted both SUNY and NYSSA in his effort to determine the correct procedure to follow, but has yet to receive a reply. In the meantime, Pape has assumed the duties of a delegate.
"George has already been involved in NYSSA. ... There couldn't possibly be a more qualified person," said Oliver.
Although the position of NYSSA delegate is an elected office at UB, Oliver opted not to hold another election, because, he said, the semester is already almost half over and NYSSA elections are rapidly approaching.
"If there comes to be student interest, sure, we'll open it up to student input," said Oliver. "Obviously, we would be open to having an election."
According to Oliver, SA will release an official announcement of Haumesser's leave and Pape's selection as soon as SUNY confirms the correct procedure for the situation.
Pape was also confirmed as interim NYSSA secretary last weekend at a meeting of NYSSA's executive committee following his appointment by Chris Holland, the SUNY student trustee and NYSSA president. The position will remain interim until a NYSSA conference later this fall, when general elections will be held and the post will be opened up to the full body of NYSSA delegates from SUNY's 64 campuses.
"I now am appointed a delegate from the University at Buffalo, but that has no interference and no conflict of interest with my position as secretary," said Pape.
"If I was an executive committee member there would be a conflict, but because I'm only a delegate in terms of the whole general body, there isn't."
While Pape can attend executive sessions and propose motions as an interim secretary, he does not have the power to vote or second motions.
Pape said as a NYSSA delegate he would "use the [interim secretary position] and any other of my positions to vie for the interests of the State University of New York at Buffalo to the best of my ability on a statewide level."
His stated priorities for the year include addressing academic concerns such as providing students with access to online professor evaluations and ensuring SUNY-wide policies and standards are appropriately implemented at UB.
"The first priority is to give a formal report to Trustee Holland on the Barbara Bono incident that has occurred at the University at Buffalo," said Pape.
Although their responsibilities have increased, Brace said that she and Kerekgyarto have been able to adapt to the sudden adjustment in their line-up.
"I feel like Laszlo and I are a strong team," said Brace. "We're upset to lose John, but we've gotten a lot of support from the e-board and they've helped us have a smooth transition."
Kerekgyarto said Pape would be a welcome addition to UB's NYSSA delegation.
"George is very good," said Kerekgyarto. "He definitely represents UB at a very high level."
Haumesser, who served for two terms on SA's Senate Finance Committee, ran for his position last semester on "The Results" party ticket along with Oliver, Vice President Joshua Korman, Treasurer Naazli Ahmed and fellow NYSSA delegates Kerekgyarto and Brace.
Haumesser won last spring's election, which had a record-breaking voter turnout, with 1,088 votes. Brace received 1,109, the most votes of the four candidates, followed by Kerekgyarto who obtained 1,103 votes. Current SA Senator Keith Mansfield and fourth NYSSA candidate lost after garnering only 878 votes.