Six Undergraduate Assembly members have resigned from their positions since the end of fall 2019 – which several UA members said is more than usual.
One College, Wharton, and Nursing seat and three associate member seats have been vacated mid-term. Nominations and Elections Committee Chair and College senior Olivia Crocker said that to fill the empty College and Wharton seats, the runners-up from the College and Wharton representative elections in April 2019 will take the positions. To fill the single UA Nursing seat, which was uncontested last spring, the NEC will hold a special election this week.
Nursing senior Jessica Andrews, one of the three associate members who resigned, said that the number of departures this year was atypical. UA Secretary and Wharton sophomore Dante Diggs added that the UA generally expects two to three resignations mid-term.
Non-returning members cited study abroad, workload, and personal issues as reasons for resigning from their positions.
Crocker said that Wharton junior Anannya Shandilya, second runner-up in the spring 2019 UA elections for Wharton seats, will fill College and Wharton sophomore Nikhil Gupta’s seat. College sophomore Daniel Ruiz de la Concha, third runner-up in last year’s election, will take over for College junior Chase Serota as a College representative. Both Gupta and Serota said they resigned to study abroad.
Gupta said the UA will continue the free menstrual product distribution project he headed last semester. College sophomore and UA Equity and Inclusion Committee Director Mary Sadallah will oversee the distribution.
Crocker said that because Nursing junior Tess Doran ran unopposed in the April 2019 elections, the NEC will hold a special election this week to fill her seat. She added that Nursing sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be eligible to vote beginning Wednesday until the voting period concludes on Friday.
Crocker said that even if no candidate files to run by Tuesday with the required 10 signatures, the NEC will likely still hold the voting period to allow for a write-in campaign. If a student earns greater than 10 write-in votes, Crocker said, they will still be able to take the seat.
In the past, the UA and NEC have struggled to fill the five Engineering seats after a six-month vacancy that began when no students filed to run in the April 2019 elections. One student won a seat on a write-in campaign, leaving four open seats. After no candidates ran again in the September 2019 special election, the NEC reformed its promotional tactics for candidates and directly reached out to student groups. A second special election in October 2019 filled the four remaining Engineering seats.
UA President Natasha Menon said that the UA will not appoint students to fill the three open associate member seats for the remaining two months of this term, as the UA bylaws do not mandate a certain number of associate members.
"It can be a choice whether or not we take new members in the spring and so we decided just to keep the really engaged members we have now," Menon said.
Former UA Nursing representative and Nursing junior Tess Doran, who resigned after fall 2019, said that completing clinicals at the hospital was too time-consuming for her to continue her work with the UA.
Andrews echoed Doran’s sentiments and added that her time in Nursing clinicals this semester made continuing to work as a UA associate member difficult.
"I picked the career and the mental health over the UA," Andrews said.
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