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Sunday, December 5, 2021

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SGA appoints 9 new senators during virtual senate meeting


SGA

While meetings are usually held in the SGA senate chamber, the Nov. 10 meeting was the first meeting of the semester exclusively held virtually. | Haya Panjwani/The Cougar

At their first meeting since the recall election, the Student Government Association made new senate appointments and considered revisions to the association’s election code. 

The meeting took place only in a virtual format, the first regular session only done virtually since the beginning of the semester. After an internal memo revealed a few members of SGA reversed their decisions to step down from the association, the senate had enough members to resume Senate meetings.

Christina Brown, a Graduate at Large senator, was elected to Speaker of the Senate. 

“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to serve the SGA in this capacity to ensure fairness and impartiality amongst all,” Brown said.

She detailed how she plans to help encourage teamwork in SGA and hopes to get work done in her time as speaker.

“I hope to accomplish a team effort of establishing the initiatives each committee elected to stand by when being appointed,” Brown said. “I also seek to accomplish a unified front validating the SGA and its efforts for UH and why we are a highly rated University. Nothing as great of value of providing community service and volunteerism is always as easily done. I am here to help get the job done.”

Nine senators were appointed to SGA; Shiny John for Graduate at Large, Alexis Boehmer for Undergraduate at Large, Tyrese White for Bauer, Jasmine Arani for the College of Arts, as well as Jayda Branch, Jacob Loew, Wesley Wallace, Adrian Hernandez and Nia King for CLASS. 

These senators replaced a number of senators who were suspended or resigned in light of the presidential recall election in October. 

Only one person running for a senate, Sameer Abdulmajeed running for the Bauer seat, did not receive an appointment after everyone but one senator voted against him.  

Heavy questioning was done by auditor Keri Urquieta, who questioned Abdulmajeed’s past involvement with the student government. She questioned his relationship with suspended President Arsalan Darbin, who was accused of using SGA funding to buy Abdulmajeed costumes for a “Cougar Red Friday” initiative.

“Let me be clear, I was not pro Arsalan,” Abdulmajeed said.  “I was never pro Arsalan. If you were there at the meeting where the recall was decided, I was vocally against Arsalan.”

He then went on to try and clarify his involvement with Darbin.  

“I do recognize that the initiative that this was started from was my idea,” he said. “Arsalan did collaborate on that and that’s because he was the president. It doesn’t matter who it was at that point. It’s just who I had to deal with.” 

Urquieta later publicly apologized for being harsh with her questioning towards Abdulmajeed. 

The chief election commissioner, Karenina Urquieta laid out revisions to the election code for SGA. Among the revisions to the code were details on the role of the election commission, information on who is eligible to run for office, how to file and campaigning guidelines for SGA elections moving forward. 

The bill will now be sent to a new internal affairs committee where members will review the revisions. 

“It felt like we were almost back to normal,” said Vice President Maryam Alghafir  “I’m really proud that we were able to have a meeting today.” 

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Correction: A previous version of this story claimed Abdulmajeed was not confirmed to the Senate after a unanimous vote against him. 

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