By Natalie Crnosija
The USG Senate did not confirm Student Activities Board chair nominee Da’Nashja Davis at the September 9 Senate meeting due to her absence from the proceedings. Senator Syed Haq motioned to table Davis’ confirmation until the Senate could question her and determine her fitness for the position. “She wasn’t here,” Haq said. “Before I recommend anyone, I want to hear their opinions about their position.”
The Student Activities Board chair is one of the most powerful positions within the USG agency system with discretionary power over a $163,350.80 budget. Their funding is put towards various student activities chosen by the SAB body during the academic year.
Freshman Senator Nicole Bckmbisike said senior senators were anxious to question Davis, who has been SAB vice president since 2008, about the function of the SAB.
Last year the SAB went over budget producing BrookFest, for which they required $10,000 of emergency funding. The shortfall was attributed to unexpected event expenses and bureaucratic upheaval after their chair graduated mid-year.
“From what I have heard from other senators, problems have been going on for years,” Bckmbisike said. “I felt the tabling was appropriate…especially since other senators had questions about SAB itself.”
Fellow freshman Senator Moiz Khan expressed a stronger point of view regarding the SAB and said that he did not feel the SAB was truly representative of the student body.
“Personally, I want to ask her questions because SAB has been essentially inclusive,” said Khan. “The same people, the same interests and they are not catering to the interests of the student body.”
Davis was not present for her confirmation hearing because she was performing at the IFSC’s Fraternity and Sorority Night show and as an officer of the Sigma Delta Theta sorority.
At an SAB meeting, Davis said that if students are concerned about representation, they should come to meetings.
President Jasper Wilson nominated Davis as SAB chair, a right reserved for the USG president. Davis was the best candidate, based upon her resume and great amount of experience as SAB vice president, said Wilson.
Former SAB chair Jackson Georges highly recommended Davis for the position. “She does a great job…and knows how to do things,” George said. “She will be a great chair when she is appointed.”
Davis said she expected to be confirmed. Furthermore, she would be able to balance the SAB chairmanship and her Sigma Delta Theta responsibilities. “I know what kind of time commitment SAB is,” said Davis. “I have been involved in SAB since my freshman year.”
The Senate’s confirmation of Davis was one of six confirmations slated for the first meeting of the semester. Though student organizations like the Elections Board, Events Management, Audio Visual Department and the Supreme Court are not under the control of the Senate, the Senate reserves the right to confirm the chairs of these organizations.
Each nominee was given an opportunity to introduce themselves and support their candidacy before the Senate. Senators questioned the nominees individually about their credentials and plans for their respective posts.
This integral part of the confirmation process would not have occurred during Davis’ confirmation had her confirmation proceeded in her absence.
Haq said he had been satisfied with the questioning of other chair nominees but could not recommend the confirmation of anyone who was not questioned before the Senate.
“This is a democratic process,” said Haq. “We need a chance to ask questions.”
Davis’ confirmation is rescheduled for the next USG Senate meeting on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 8:30 P.M.