With the Student Government Association election season underway, SGA faced a problem: the resignation of their university-wide and Atlanta communications director and Downtown campus election commission chair.
Evan Malbrough, who has participated in multiple politically active organizations on campus such as Vote Everywhere and the Young Democrats of Georgia, announced his resignation shortly after the last SGA University-Wide Senate meeting on Jan. 23.
His resignation came on Jan. 28, after an “incident” following the previous week’s university-wide meeting, according to SGA University-Wide President Jazmin Mejia.
“The reason why he resigned is after the u-wide meeting we had, there was a little incident that occurred afterward, and we all came to the conclusion, including himself, that it’d be best if he took some time off from SGA indefinitely just so SGA can continue to move forward and create success,” Mejia said. “But at the same time, we could show that everyone’s mental health is appropriate and well.”
Applications opened to replace Malbrough as communications director on Jan. 30. A new communications director, freshman Shaun Cunningham, was sworn in on Feb. 13 at the Atlanta Senate meeting.
In addition to appointing a new communications director, the Atlanta senate also had the opportunity to both swear in and vote on several key positions.
With the resignation of Sen. Jonathan Tshizubu from his position as the Student Services committee chair, Sen. John Le was voted in.
A contentious vote was held to elect the speaker pro tempore for the Atlanta senate, with three candidates nominated for the position by their peers.
The speaker pro tempore takes on the duties of the speaker of the senate in their absence, as well as serving other duties to help operate the senate smoothly. Sen. Nigel Walton called for a roll call vote, meaning every senator had to vocalize who they would be voting for.
Senators Nia Cole and Peter Minetos, who are both vying for the speaker of the senate position in the upcoming SGA election, received four and one votes respectively.
Sen. Terry Fye, a veteran SGA member and former presidential candidate, as well as head of the bylaws committee, won the position with seven votes.
On top of that, he was sworn in as the vice-chair of marketing for the election commission on the Downtown campus.
Although she was not in attendance and therefore not sworn in yet, Kristyn Drummonds was appointed as senate clerk following the resignation of Brittany Dankwa.
Election Season Transition
Since election season began, Vice Chair for Marketing Fatoumata Fofana has moved up to replace Malbrough, following Article 2, Section 7(A)(b) of the Election Code.
Mejia said she isn’t worried about what the transition will do to the election process.
“I think it’ll be a smooth transition considering I know Fatou is very aware of what the election consists of, and she’ll have a lot of support from past commission chairs, but also us if she does need any help in regards to the election,” Mejia said.
With Fofana’s experience as the marketing chair, Mejia said that she is well equipped to handle the election moving forward.
“And plus, when it comes to marketing, she’s also the marketing chair simultaneously while that’s vacant, considering that was her position before moving up,” Mejia said. “So, I have no problem; I’m not worried that [this transition] is going to affect it.”
State of the “State of the State”
One issue that arose from Malbrough’s resignation was that the State of the State, an event that invites local politicians and highlights Georgia State’s current progress, had to be canceled since Malbrough was the one spearheading the program.
“One of the reasons being with Evan’s resignation, he was the creator of this event. So we realized that if Evan is to leave and not be a part of SGA any longer … we wouldn’t want to host it without him or take over it considering we didn’t really know what was going on since it was planned mainly by him,” Mejia said.
Another reason why they followed through with canceling the event is that it turned into publicity for local politicians without the number of RSVPs for which SGA was hoping.
“People weren’t prepared. The RSVPs weren’t as high as we anticipated them to be,” Mejia said. “We realized instead of legislators being there, it was more just outside organizations or people who were running for seats in the House or Senate, and it was going to become a giant photo-op for them.”
Because the event was going to be held in the Capitol on Jan. 30, the Atlanta SGA senate was going to conduct their meeting in the same room.
However, without the State of the State event, Mejia said that they lost their room reservation in the Capitol for their senate meeting as well. Because a room wasn’t reserved on the Atlanta campus, their senate meeting had to be canceled entirely.
Despite the State of the State’s cancelation, Mejia plans on trying to have it at a later date.
“We’re thinking of either having it coincide with our inauguration or just having it [as] a whole separate event, but that’s not determined yet,” she said.