The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Student Senate appoints new members, five seats still empty


The Student Senate appointed several new members to its ranks Friday, but it chose not to appoint a Vice-President of Internal Affairs from the two potential candidates.

“It’s such an important position, I wish it had been filled,” said Senate Advisor Amy Collins.

The position is in charge of holding senators accountable for properly performing their duties, such as making sure they submit reports, meet their deadlines, and follow through on their commitments.

All vice-president positions on the senate are typically filled after the senate’s annual April election, but no one ran for the position last year.

Story continues below advertisement

The senate voted twice on all contested positions, including the vice-president position. The first vote was to decide which of the two candidates the senate preferred to hold the position, while the second was a confirmation vote to decide whether that individual should be appointed.

The candidates in question were Emily Hayman and Josh Oken. Oken had experience as the former person to hold the position last year, while Hayman had experience managing a team of 60 people for a Democratic campaign.

In the first vote, Senator Christopher Lee voted for Oken and Senator Vanessa Vera for Hayman, with Senator Kenny Igbechi abstaining. To break the tie, Senate President Josh Villanueva voted for Josh Oken.

Both advisors appeared confused that Igbechi abstained.

“We shouldn’t have abstains, but that’s what’s on the ballot,” Collins said.

Senate Advisor Christopher Johnson said abstentions should only be made if a senator has a conflict of interest. An example he gave was if one of the candidates had been a family member of Igbechi.

Villanueva said he understood Johnson’s concern, but Igbechi’s vote still stands.

“He’s gone through the training, he understands that you’re not properly representing your students if you do not have a conflict of interest and you abstain,” Villanueva said.

The confirmation vote was 2-1-1, with Igbechi and Vera voting to confirm, Lee voting against, and Villanueva abstaining. Because the Bylaws state potential senators can only be confirmed through a two-thirds vote of the entire senate membership, Oken was not confirmed and the meeting moved on to consideration of the other candidates for the positions they vied for.

Villanueva acts as the chair of each meeting, and as part of his government training was taught it is proper for the chair to abstain from most votes.

In an interview with The Channels, Lee said he decided to vote against confirming him because he did not view him as an adequate candidate for the position, explaining that he voted for him in the first vote because it was not possible to abstain and he considered him a better candidate than Hayman.

“Looking through his officer reports, he was not accountable to himself, and my concern was if he was not accountable to his own duties, how can he be accountable for every single member of the board,” Lee said.

Lee added that it’s better to have Villanueva continue to take on the responsibilities of the Vice-President of Internal Affairs position than to have someone in the position that does not function properly and makes no one accountable.

In a previous senate meeting which was used to delegate the responsibilities of the unfilled positions to sitting members, Johnson said he was opposed to Villanueva taking on the responsibilities of both the President and Vice President of Internal Affairs, but did not elaborate other than to say the latter was a key position and there might be a conflict.

Although the secretary and commissioner positions responsible for marketing, event planning, campus sustainability and academic activities are filled, five positions have yet to be seated. These include the Vice President of Internal Affairs, the Commissioner of Fundraising and the Student Trustee, with the former trustee having resigned Wednesday.

The senate will fill these positions by appointment, but has not yet set a time frame for when applications will be available and the seats filled.

More to Discover