Senators

Aaron Schaffer, Photo Editor

In the last year, five senators resigned from the Students’ Association (SA) Senate, a position that is traditionally a  year-long term. The resigned senators include senior Sonja Page, sophomore Humma Sheikh, junior David Wang, junior Greg Corrado, and senior Eric DeMeo.

Page, who resigned this November, served as a Class of 2013 Senator and the Projects & Services Committee Co-Chair. After work as an SA aide her first two years at UR, she assumed the role of Co-Chair as a junior and held it through the fall of 2012.

According to Page, her position as Co-Chair took approximately 20 hours weekly to fulfill, an obligation that became too much by her senior year.

“I wasn’t contributing as much as I could,” Page said. “It wasn’t fair to my constituents or to me that I couldn’t give it my all.”

At the Feb. 11 Senate meeting, members voted to leave Page’s seat vacant for the remainder of the year. Although Page’s seat is not filled by a specific senator representing the class of 2013, there are two other 2013 senators and five at-large senators who represent the student body as a whole.

Sheikh was a Class of 2015 senator and Projects & Services Co-Chair with Page when she resigned last November.

“I resigned purely for personal reasons,” Sheikh said. “My resignation is not in any way a reflection of the SA.”

Her position in the Senate was filled by sophomore Tom Perrotta, the next Class of 2015 candidate in line, and the vacated Chair position was filled by an application process.

Although senators have an obligation to the students they have been elected to represent, they also have personal commitments as students themselves. The Senate resignations are not unjustified.

“They definitely have a responsibility to themselves as students,” sophomore Emily Roemer said. “But they obviously signed up for the position, so they have some responsibility.”

Students largely empathized with senators’ personal decisions to resign from Senate.

“There are always extenuating circumstances,” junior Patrick Harrington said. “But I guess it’s ideal that they stay in office. That’s what they signed up for.”

Wang was a Class of 2014 senator, a position in which he served for a year and a half, and member of the Students’ Association Appropriations Committee (SAAC).

With his relatively long tenure as a senator, Wang surprised most when he resigned at the first meeting of the spring 2013 semester. Junior Benjamin Bade, the runner-up, filled his place.

As a Senator on SAAC, Wang voted on supplemental funding propositions and worked on yearly budgeting.

Wang resigned from Senate to become a SAAC accountant. He still gets a vote at supplemental funding hearings, but works more closely with student groups on a regular basis.

“I really wanted to get more involved with different organizations and really work with them,” Wang said. “My interests differed from being a senator.”

Wang’s decision, unlike others’, was decided not for academic reasons, but rather personal interest.

Corrado’s resignation was the most typical, taking place on Dec. 10, 2012 after giving notice at the beginning of the fall 2012 semester about his plans to go abroad this spring.

DeMeo resigned on Oct. 25, 2012 and declined to comment.

The Senate was notified of his resignation on  Oct. 15. According to the meeting minutes, Speaker of the Senate and junior Shilpa Topudurti informed the Senate that “DeMeo has chosen to resign from his position after a great deal of reflection” and accepted his resignation.

The Senate seats left empty in the past have been filled with runner-ups, through an application process, or, in the case of Page, left vacant.

“I think choosing the runner-up is a good idea,” Roemer said. “They showed an interest before, and they were the second choice.”

Harrington seconded Roemer’s opinion, adding, “I don’t see anything wrong with an application process as long as preference is given to the runner-ups.”

None of the students interviewed were aware that senators representing their classes had resigned.

The SA did not notify students directly of the senators’ resignations, but meeting minutes are posted on the SA’s website.

Remus is a member of the class of 2016.



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