Sep 292010
 
Authors: Jordyn Dahl

Student government Vice President Jennifer Babos chaired Senate for the first time this semester Wednesday night but maintained that her executive role should take precedent over running Senate.

President Cooper Anderson addressed the Senate to discuss the controversy surrounding Babos’s decision not to chair this year to focus on other vice presidential duties. He also encouraged the body to draft a resolution rewriting the constitution and Senate bylaws to clarify what her role should be.

“We’ll adhere to whatever they pass,” Anderson said, adding that Babos will chair Senate until the body passes legislation, unless he needs her for executive matters.

Babos’s decision has raised questions from Senators and students as to whether or not she is doing the job she was elected to do by the student body and if her salary reflects her work.

Babos receives $7,250 from student fees for her term. The speaker pro tempore, who has been chairing Senate until now, receives $1,000.

Some senators remain disgruntled over the discussion and don’t think their questions were answered.

“I don’t think anything changed,” Senator Ben Weiner said. “There were no new explanations. There has been talk of impeachment, with senators and students on the fence.”

“I hope so,” said graduate student Rich Guggenheim when asked if he thought Babos would face impeachment. “If she won’t do her job, let’s get someone who will.”

But executives don’t think it will come to impeachment and believe the open forum was a success in pushing Babos’s message. Former presidential candidate Dave Ambrose said he heard Chief of Staff Nate Fielder shout, “Yes, we won,” outside of the Senate Chambers after the discussion, an allegation Fielder denied.

“We high-fived,” Fielder said. “I was excited for him. He proved himself as president tonight.”

Babos said the speaker only chairs the meeting to facilitate a conversation and thinks if that is all she is there for she shouldn’t be paid.

“If you’re paying me $7,250 to facilitate a conversation, you are highly overpaying me,” Babos said.

Babos said that instead of chairing Senate she spends the time doing more with her role than past vice presidents, including working with cabinet on the executive’s goals, working to develop personal relationships within ASCSU and having a monthly meeting with the administration to discuss interpersonal violence.

However, last year’s vice president Tim Hole said it’s standard for vice presidents to meet with administrators monthly.

“I and every vice president before me had monthly meetings with the president of the university,” Hole said.

Anderson apologized for not coming to the Senate sooner with their decision.

“I went ahead with this decision with the best intentions,” Anderson said. “This address got shuffled to the backburner … I own the fact that we weren’t here earlier.”

Citing specific articles of the constitution Anderson went on to say that he interpreted the constitution to mean that Babos’s primary role as vice president is to assist the president in executive duties.

An explanation echoed by Babos.

“I think it’s open to interpretation,” she said when asked what her role is.

The speaker pro tempore agreed and said she doesn’t have a problem with chairing Senate.

“No, I don’t have a problem with it,” said Speaker Pro Tempore, Mary Peterson. “I’m doing what my job says, right?”

ASCSU Beat Reporter Jordyn Dahl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:29 pm

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