For the first time in Penn Student Government history, two elected student representatives tasked with representing their school have transferred to another undergraduate school, leaving vacancies that PSG has never had to address before, two members of the Class Board said.
In April, then College freshmen Shane Goldstein and Vanessa Wanyandeh were elected to be College chairs of the Class Board of 2020. But by the end of the semester, they had both applied to transfer to the Wharton School.
Applications for internal transfers between the College of Arts and Sciences and Wharton must be submitted by mid-May, which is only about a month and a half after Goldstein and Wanyandeh were elected to their positions. The two candidates had to take several classes, including Math 104, Economics 001 and Economics 002 to be eligible to begin Wharton classes in the fall.
“Our academic interests, especially as freshmen, change very rapidly,” Goldstein said. “By the end of my freshman year, it made sense for me to transfer to Wharton."
Wanyandeh did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
There were no rules in place in PSG's Fair Practices Code that required Goldstein and Wanyandeh to step down from their posts, but they both decided to do so, Goldstein said.
“While there were no explicit rules that force us to step down, we agreed that it didn’t seem like the most democratic thing to do if we remained in those positions,” he said. “The spirit of the law is more aligned with us stepping down.”
Rising sophomores who have applied for an internal transfer from the College to Wharton typically learn of their acceptance in late July.
President of the 2020 Class Board and Wharton and Engineering sophomore Karim El Sewedy, said he first found out about the students' transfers in the summer.
“At the time, my main concern was finding a viable solution to this sticky situation,” El Sewedy said. “However, I am very happy with how things turned out.”
Chair of the Nominations and Election Committee and College senior Allie Rubin said NEC oversaw the transition to ensure that the new representatives would be able to adequately represent the College.
Goldstein and Wanyandeh will be handing off their responsibilities to College sophomores Daniella Wirtschafter and Noel Zheng, who were the runners-up from the NEC elections this past March. The two were not elected by their constituents last semester, but will now be responsible for organizing events, addressing issues and voicing their concerns.
Wirtschafter declined to comment, and Zheng did not respond to requests for comment.
While Goldstein and Wanyandeh will no longer be serving as College chairs, both El Sewedy and Goldstein said that they will still remain on their Class Board in “temporarily appointed positions” to ease the transition for the incoming representatives and to represent the constituents that originally voted for them.
Temporary positions on PSG are not new. Last year, Goldstein said that the Class Board appointed various positions for video making and apparel design; however, none of those positions were involved in student government politics.
“For the most part, a lot of the positions on class board are fairly interchangeable,” said Goldstein. “We all work on big projects together despite our positions, and we will continue to work together to represent our class the best we can.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that College senior Allie Rubin declined to comment. This was inaccurate. The Daily Pennsylvanian regrets the error.
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