Mercyhurst Student Government (MSG) voted to change the position of Treasurer from an elected position to an appointed position at its weekly meeting on Nov 17.
Under the recommendations of an auditor for the school, MSG brought up the issue of making the treasurer a position filled through an appointment rather than through an election as it was prior to Monday. MSG passed the motion with 22 votes for, 6 votes against, and 1 abstention. In addition to making this change to the
Treasurer position, MSG agreed to split the president and vice president ticket, allowing the student body to vote separately on candidates.
One of the primary concerns for the decision was ensuring that an individual holding the treasurer position was sufficiently qualified, according to MSG President Nick Latta. The treasurer is handling the finances for all MSG functions, as well as the Student Activities Committee (SAC), “so it’s a big task that requires people to have some skill or some knowledge of the issue,” Latta said.
The appointment process, which will includes a series of interviews, allows the president and vice president to “be more selective” in choosing the treasurer. “In elections, people get the credentials, but not everyone reads and is an informed voter,” Nick said.
The interview process will examine the background and credentials of each candidate. “With an interview process, we could decide, with our advisors, who is the best person for the job,” MSG Vice President Caleb Ohmer said. The president, vice president, the advisors from MSG and SAC, and the Registered Student Clubs and Organizations (RSCO) liaison would be a part of the interview process.
The decision was passed with 6 senators voting against it. One of the senators who voted against the motion was Dylan Radtke, the senator from the School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science.
While he acknowledges the benefits of the decision, he said it is clear that the decision reduces the ability of the student body to voice their opinion. “It’s a degradation of democracy,” Radtke said. “Having an appointed position removes the student body’s input from who will be placed in that position.”
Another senator, Jennifer Cotto-Ecklund, proposed an alternative to appointing the position. She suggested an interview process to select the most qualified individuals and then hold an election for the students to select from that group.
In a question regarding this proposal asked after the initial interview, Latta said that there was a time constraint on enacting it due to the set election and appointment dates on the calendar.
“The Executive Board proposed the idea of having an appointed position to allow for more students to hopefully apply for the position. The original proposal of an appointment out-weighed the proposal of an interview and then running an election considering the amount of involvement that is offered for students at Mercyhurst on top of their academic schedules.”