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StuGov approves three appointments including speaker, vice speaker of Senate

Elizabeth Lane
Engineering Senator David Minchew and Off Campus Senator Alexandra Momaney sit and listen at Student Government in the MU on March 20, 2024.

The Student Government Senate began its new session Wednesday with three appointments including speaker and vice speaker of the Senate. 

The Senate agenda for the meeting included the appointment of four executive cabinet members and speaker and vice speaker of the Senate, but the Memorial Union closing at 10 p.m. led to an adjournment before the business of the evening was concluded. 

Speaker of the Senate

Sen. Alexandra Momaney, a junior in global resource systems, was approved as the new Senate speaker with 16 votes in favor and eight for other candidates or abstaining.

“My goal as speaker will be to build a community but also to build comfortability, for everybody to feel comfortable with each other, to not be afraid of who they can go up to and ask and to not be nervous about what’s coming, but rather excited for the opportunities that they have,” Momaney said. 

Additionally, Momaney wants to implement a new mentorship program for new senators to feel more comfortable starting in the Senate and also write a “baby bylaws” version of the Senate bylaws to make the 56-page document less daunting. 

Sen. Hannah Everhart, who served as vice speaker until the previous Senate concluded April 3, wanted to make the Senate a more welcoming place, and Sen. Asray Gopa, said he wanted to promote Senate projects, also ran for the position. 

“I’m a computer science major, I don’t even put this on my resume… I really do this to help students and I want to do the same for you guys,” Gopa said. 

Many senators voiced their interest in a speaker who would not allow themselves to be pushed around and do well under the pressure of the position. 

“Speaking from personal experience as a former speaker, [I] feel Momaney would do really well with the amount of stress that can be thrown upon you,” Acting Speaker Alex Cecil, the most recent Senate speaker, said. “Just because Momaney is a very strong person that’s willing to speak their mind and not really be super worried about who they’re talking to in terms of how their feelings are going to take it.”

Vice Speaker 

Sen. Josie Pursley, a junior in political science, was approved with a vote of 13-7-1 as the new vice speaker after three rounds of voting. 

In Senate procedure, if a majority vote is not reached, the candidate with the lowest votes is removed and voting persists until a candidate reaches the majority. 

Everhart, whose vice speakership formally ended April 3, was nominated along with Gopa, a sophomore in computer science, and Sen. Erik Rolwes, a sophomore in industrial design. 

Pursley said she wanted to focus on getting new senators to be more active in Student Government. 

“What I really want to work on as vice speaker is helping people come up with project ideas, not even get their projects implemented, but finding out what is important to you, like what do you really want to see happen at this school? And how can I make that a reality?” Pursley said. 

Senators spoke on their favored candidate during the debate without candidates present.

“I’m going to lean a lot towards Asray Gopa and Sen. Everhart as they’ve both had a long-term standing within Student Government, and I know this is like my first ever Senate meeting, but from listening to both of their speeches as being nominated for speaker of the [Senate] and vice speakers, it shows that people within Student Government do believe and have faith within their capabilities,” Sen. Hemanthsai Peddasani, a freshman majoring in computer engineering, said. 

Pursley’s outgoing behavior and commitment to working effectively with others drew support from senators. 

“I met Sen. Pursley long before Student Government, long before I even knew it existed. She immediately came up to me and started talking to me, gave me that warm welcoming feeling, just became everyone’s friend immediately,” Sen. Hunter Schneider, a sophomore in political science, said. “That’s why I think she’d do such an amazing job as a vice speaker, because she just has that kind of warm, outgoing personality, and not only that, she’s a very ambitious person.”

Chief of Staff 

With 10 minutes until the closing of the Memorial Union, Madi Harvey’s appointment as chief of staff by President Martin Hursh, a sophomore in economics, was approved. 

“I served as the campaign manager for the Hursh-Margrett slate during this past election season, and I think we all felt it was a pretty natural next step for me to move into the chief of staff position when working with our administration,” Harvey, a junior in animal science, said. 

Harvey also served as a past director of communications, working on Student Government recruitment. 

Harvey plans on making the role more involved with the cabinet and Student Government as a whole. 

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