Alyssa Palacios has stepped down as Student Association president, according to an email sent to SA staff Wednesday by her successor Nelaje Branch.
Palacios’ resignation marks the second time in 22 days that an SA president has left office.
Adolyn Cofie resigned from the SA as president just 13 days before the start of the spring semester, shifting Palacios into that role.
Following Palacios’ resignation and in accordance with SA by-laws, Branch will serve as SA president while Sayan Trotman remains as SA treasurer. Branch will be tasked with selecting a new vice president and has requested that students who are “interested in filling the role… for the remainder of the semester” respond to her email with their name, graduating year and resume.
In an email to The Spectrum, Branch said she is looking for students who have experience with SA clubs and are “dedicated to the upliftment” of the student body.
Before becoming SA president, Branch ran for SA VP twice: first as a member of the Not Me, UB! campaign and again when Palacios nominated her during an SA Board of Directors meeting on Jan. 27. Branch was not elected by the student body when she became vice president on Jan. 27. Instead, she was nominated by Palacios and approved by the SA Board of Directors.
The Spectrum reached out to Palacios regarding her departure, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Branch said she wasn’t worried or surprised when Palacios announced her departure and that she is ready to serve the students “regardless of the position” she is in.
“Advocacy is a lifeblood for me,” Branch wrote. “Regardless of the position I’m in, I’m in it to serve the students. I do feel prepared and I know that I have an amazing staff, a diligent [professional] staff and Sayan, who has been outstanding as my support system.”
In May 2019, SA senators voted on staff stipends for the 2019-20 academic year, which increased to $15,750 for executive board members. The Spectrum asked for but did not receive stipend figures for the 2020-21 academic year from SA.
The SA president presides over a $4 million budget, which is allocated to SA Activities and Entertainment, SA Clubs and Campus Services.
Branch says she isn’t sure of any new plans for SA now that she is president — “things are changing every single day,” she said — but says she will continue to listen and support the student body’s concerns.
“But [the] bottom line [is that] I’m here to listen and support the concerns of our students and advocate on their behalf,” Branch wrote. “I want to continue to keep university life engaging while remaining safe. The health, wellness and safety of our students is our main priority.”
This is a developing story.
Alexandra Moyen is the senior features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AlexandraMoyen
Alexandra Moyen is the senior features editor of The Spectrum.