Ira Livnat was confirmed as the 93rd Executive Vice President of SGA on Thursday, September 15th, but he had already been fulfilling the duties of the position for over a month.
When the former EVP of SGA Devi Patel unceremoniously resigned earlier this semester, the line of succession would have named Speaker of the Atlanta Senate Jordan Madden as EVP. However, Madden decided against assuming the position and instead recommended Livnat who was at the time a senator from the College of Law and the Speaker Pro Tempore. Livnat accepted the position and became acting EVP. This decision was unanimously welcomed by the members of SGA, save for one senator.
Senator Colin Hinze was a senator from the College of Arts and Sciences when he filed an appeal to the SGA Judiciary on September 2nd. This appeal laid out Hinze’s grievances with Livnat’s appointment as EVP, questioning whether or not Madden was constitutionally allowed to decline the position of EVP and whether it was acceptable to have the role be appointed to a senator.
The judiciary would ultimately decide on the matter by the 11th of September. In that decision, the SGAJ stated that while the bylaws of SGA did not make it clear what to do in this situation, forcing Madden into a position he did not want would be “inequitable, and undermine the democratic spirit.” They also decided that since the Speaker of the Senate has sole discretion to select candidates for senate vacancies, the same rule would apply in a vacancy within the executive board. The only part of that typical process that had not been fulfilled was a two-thirds affirmative vote. Thus, the SGAJ charged the senate with holding that vote to confirm the nomination.
Hinze filed this appeal on the 2nd of September, but nobody else in SGA was informed about it until Wednesday the 14th. This purposeful concealment gave other members of SGA less time to prepare for the meeting the following day which would decide if Livnat should be EVP.
On a day’s notice, a couple of senators prepared materials and statements to support Ira’s position as EVP. Mainly, Senator Tanjanae Walker wrote up the legislation that would put Livnat’s appointment as EVP to a vote. The bill was co-sponsored by Speaker Madden as well as Senator Myla Willams.
With their talking points prepared, the senators gathered in Student Center West at 7 pm the following day, the room filled with tense students reacting to their updated agenda and preparing to defend their position passionately.
After the beginning formalities, the first item brought forth was the new legislation, labeled 93-CSO-CL-ATL-18. When discussion began, Livnat was made to leave the room while the senate deliberated. Hinze spoke first, reaffirming his issues with Livnat’s appointment, and even recommending another person for the position.
Williams spoke after Heinz. She passed out portfolios containing pieces of legislation, email threads and other correspondence all involving Livnat to affirm her stance that he is the correct person for the job. Among them was a statement from Student Body President Anthonio Prince in which Prince expresses his support for Livnat’s appointment.
After Williams’ introduction, other senators within the room began to speak out in support of Livnat, speaking to both the quality of his character as well as the volume of his work within SGA over his past 5-years of involvement.
Ultimately, deliberation would conclude after about an hour with Speaker Madden sharing some final words in support of Livnat. A motion to vote was put forward, and after the numbers were in, Livnat was confirmed with a vote of 13 yes, 1 no and 2 abstentions.
After the meeting concluded, Livnat had this to say about the night’s events, “I think the drama and the theatrics come with the territory. Unfortunately, it’s an occupational hazard, you have to be comfortable being in the crosshairs and being under scrutiny. – There’s a lot of love in SGA, and there’s a lot of support. Occasionally, some people lose their way but I’m confident that they’ll find them again.”
Senator Hinze resigned the next day.
Had Livnat not been confirmed on that day, it would have undone a month’s worth of work. It also would have made it impossible to appoint the over a dozen freshman liaisons that were sworn in by Livnat during the last half of the meeting.