SA Senate says no to Veloz’s pick for vice president
Club coordinators disappointed with nominee Samirra Felix
The Student Association remains without a vice president after the Senate voted down President Leslie Veloz’s nominee at Wednesday’s meeting.
SA Senate members questioned Veloz’s nominee; many said she should have nominated someone with more SA experience or someone with a coordinator position.
SA held its bi-weekly Senate meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the current vacancy of the association’s second-highest role. The position opened up after former Vice President Jamersin Redfern resigned Feb. 2, citing family issues. Veloz nominated current Director of Student Affairs Samirra Felix on Tuesday after interviewing three other candidates. Twelve of the 15 senators voted no on the motion to elect Felix; the other three abstained.
Veloz declined to comment after the vote.
During the meeting, Veloz said she looked for “work ethic, passion and availability,” in selecting a nominee, as opposed to experience in SA.
Veloz will have the chance to present the new nominee for vice president at the next Senate meeting, tentatively scheduled for March 2, a full month after Redfern resigned.
Club coordinators said it’s unfair to appoint an unqualified candidate for a paid position because the coordinators would end up doing additional work to compensate.
Tanahiry Escamilla, a senior chemical engineering major and Engineering Council coordinator, said coordinators and club services have been taking on roles normally allotted to the vice president since Redfern’s resignation.
“We are only getting paid ten hours a week, and honestly I think many of my co-workers can agree we don’t want to do more work when someone else is getting paid for it,” Escamilla said.
Before resigning, Redfern had recommended Escamilla for the VP role.
Devashish Agarwal, SA Senate chair and senior computer science major, said the Senate asked Felix, a senior geology major, “relatively simple” questions during the meeting.
“Some of the questions were so basic that anyone who’s ever been a part of a club e-board would know them like the back of their hand,” Agarwal said. “One big point of concern was that she faltered on some of the basic things.”
When asked, Felix was not able to name all seven councils she would have worked with but was able to describe how club financial rollovers operated.
Veloz is no stranger to working with her nominee. Felix and Veloz were president and vice president, respectively, of the Black Student Union in 2016-17.
After being introduced at Wednesday’s meeting, Felix discussed a number of issues she said she would address as SA vice president, including a “lack of communication with clubs” and a “lackluster usages of the [SA] mailbox.”
Felix proposed more one-on-one meetings with SA’s 150-plus clubs as well as providing staff members a broader understanding of the services SA provides.
Felix said she wanted to become the vice president because she wanted to challenge herself.
“One thing I’m very self-conscious [about] are the things that I don’t know,” Felix said. “One way I counteract that is by asking questions and having conversations.”
Felix closed by asking the Senate to be mindful of her qualifications and her desire to be vice president.
Felix was unavailable to comment after the meeting.
Veloz said Treasurer Janet Austin was updated about her choice for nominee, but was not involved in the process.
Danielle Johnson, a junior theatre major and Hobby Council coordinator, said she wished Veloz would have nominated a more qualified candidate to fill the role quickly.
“If we base our judgment off the way [Felix] answered basic questions, she was an unfit candidate,” Johnson told The Spectrum.
Johnson said there are other potential nominees in SA who understand the VP role and would make a better fit than Felix.
Alexis Ogra, a senior history major and Special Interest Council coordinator, also said she felt there were more qualified people for the role.
“We don’t know [Felix],” Ogra said. “We didn’t know her from working with her.”
Haruka Kosugi and Tolu Kolade are news staff members and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org