The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student Government vacancies left unfilled for months

Photo by Austin Carey for The Lafayette
Student Government vacancies have been a significant issue since the February application cycle.

Two vacancies within the Student Government class of 2024 delegation have remained unfilled since the start of the current legislative session in February. A third vacancy has also arisen due to the dismissal of a junior class representative, and the dismissal of a fourth representative was overturned last Wednesday. 

The Student Government constitution stipulates that seven representatives should be appointed for each class year. Despite an application cycle in February, there were not enough quality applications to fill those slots, according to Thania Hernandez ‘25, vice president of the Student Government.

“We opened up the application again when we hadn’t gotten enough, and we still didn’t get enough applications to fill those spots,” Olivia Puzio ‘25, the Student Government president, said. “We had tried to fill them but they remained vacant.”

Hernandez said that the Student Government wanted to prioritize the quality of applications, which they grade based on a standardized rubric. The rejected applications did not meet the standards needed for admission into Student Government.  

In light of the vacancies, the Student Government has decided to open applications again.

“Applications for the class of 2024 are opening up this week in the hopes of getting the two seats filled by the end of the month,” Hernandez said.

In addition, Hernandez recognized that paper applications are hard to do in an increasingly technological age. 

“There was a conversation about whether or not the rubric system was working to everyone’s advantage,” Hernandez said. “Because we have had so many applicants apply and be judged based on things, we didn’t want to change whether or not they would get judged by a different rubric … that would be an unfair advantage to the new people applying that previous people applying to any class didn’t have.”

However, there are some changes being made to forthcoming applications. According to Hernandez, the applications now suggest a minimum word count, which she hopes will encourage people to be more detailed and thorough. 

The low participation rates amongst the senior class contrasts the recent increase in student government applications, especially among first-years during the 2022-2023 academic year. 

“We had eleven [seniors] who submitted an application, which is fairly small compared to thirty for the [first-years],” Hernandez added.

There is also one more vacancy in the junior class due to a representative being dismissed.

Jermaine Grant ‘25 was recently terminated after violating the Student Government’s attendance policy by failing to show up to three meetings. Grant declined to comment. 

Molly Nylund ‘25 was also originally terminated due to the same policy, but she successfully contested her removal during the Student Government meeting last week and has since been reinstated. The details of the reinstatement, which occurred during an executive session, are unable to be disclosed. Nylund did not respond to several requests for comment. 

So far, these vacancies have not impacted day-to-day student government operations, according to Puzio.  

Trebor Maitin ‘24, the Student Government parliamentarian, is working on a resolution demanding quicker action in the event of vacancies within class delegations. 

“We’ve been very slow moving with filling [the vacancies], so I am drafting an amendment to the bylaws that would say we need to let the students know that there is a vacancy in Student Government and that we need to fill it within a certain amount of time,” Maitin said. “We could do better and we ought to do better … the student body can’t wait any longer to have their representation.”

Not all students are as concerned as Maitin regarding the timeframe of appointing the new representatives.

“At this point in the year, it seems like the work that Student Government is doing doesn’t necessarily have a ton to do with [class year representation], so I don’t think it’s necessarily vital that these positions are filled immediately,” Sarah Cohen ‘24 said. “I think that the quality of the applicants and having people in the positions who really care about the work that they’re doing is probably more important than filling it immediately.”

Managing Editor Trebor Maitin ‘24 did not contribute writing or reporting.

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About the Contributors
William Gutiérrez
William Gutiérrez, Staff Culture Writer
bang energy afficionado.
Austin Carey
Austin Carey, Staff Photographer

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