By Ambrosia Neldon
Due to disagreement among senators and cabinet members of the Western Student Association, the decision to confirm the president’s choice for the new Vice President has been tabled.
The WSA has been facing controversy in the past several weeks due to a decision made by WSA President, Sean Nicholl. After Nicholl’s running mate, Collin Mays, resigned from his position as Vice President to go on tour for his book, Nicholl was faced with the task of finding a new vice president.
Controversy arose when senators began to find out that Nicholl chose to appoint his new candidate, Anna Salvaggio, instead of announcing that the position was open and hosting another round of interviews.
“We had gone through interviews all throughout the spring in terms of all cabinet seats we had open, and we had the second round of interviews which involved Community Involvement and Academic Affairs Chair,” said Nicholl.
Nicholl said that Mays decided to resign from his position about three weeks before senate retreat in the summer.
“At that point in time I made the personal decision to draw from the pool of interviews we’d already conducted. We had some great interviews and so we chose Anna out of the position she previously ran for,” said Nicholl. “There kind of comes a time when you can’t keep interviewing and you have to start your organization.”
Some senators voiced their opinions about Nicholl’s choice to appoint Salvaggio at WSA’s first meeting of the year. At this meeting, the senate was asked to vote for whether or not they would confirm Salvaggio as Vice President.
“From what I gathered on the senate floor today, I think that there were some senators that would have liked to see two things: a more diverse representation within cabinet and also a little bit more transparency within selection process of vice president,” said Jim Stano, one of the members who spoke out against the confirmation at the meeting. Stano emphasized that he was not necessarily expressing his opinion, but speaking on behalf of the senate.
Stano is a graduate student at WMU and has served in WSA for several years. He attended the first meeting as a proxy for his organization, Omega Delta Epsilon.
“From what I gathered, some people placed a lot of emphasis on the fact that [cabinet members] were all from similar leadership positions, that a lot of them were Orientation Student Leaders and members of the Greek community.”
Nicholl was previously an Orientation Student Leader.
Some students made their opinions about the issue known on a previous article announcing Salvaggio as the new vice president candidate. These comments can be viewed by clicking here.
“I supported the Nichols/Mays campaign when they took office and will continue to do so for Nichols, but the replacement of Mays was not well-publicized, and a primary part of the campaign is being replaced just after being elected,” said one anonymous commenter. “I have nothing against Salvaggio other than her previous failures to commit to WSA as her priority.”
“What [the commenter] is referring to is that Anna was selected as the Speaker Pro Tem last year and she wasn’t able to make a majority of the meetings because of a class she was in, and so she kind of took it upon herself to resign because she didn’t have the time available,” said Nicholl. “If you want to call that lack of dedication, that’s fine. I call it being committed to being a student first.”
Other commenters stressed the fact that the senate did not have to vote Salvaggio in as vice president and should not vote yes only to go along with the president’s selection. Nicholl said it was important for the students to know this as well.
Nicholl said that he is not disheartened by the controversy because he knows it occurs at the beginning of every year when students aren’t happy with the way the presidential election turned out.
“Looking back I would have made the same decision again. We did a lot of things as a cabinet in terms of bonding that we needed a full cabinet to be a part of. Waiting until the first meeting you would have a person that would be selected, it would take another at least week or so of interviews and another week of that. By that time you’re weeks into the semester already,” said Nicholl.
The senate made the decision to table the decision of confirming Salvaggio’s position for two weeks at the meeting on Sept. 26, in hopes that the senate will grow larger and more votes will be included in the decision.