MUSG senator questions constitutionality of VP positions

Zack WallaceMarquette Student Government Senator Zack Wallace submitted a formal petition to the MUSG judicial administrator to review the constitutionality of the hiring of the Programs Vice President and the Financial Vice President.

Wallace, a sophomore representing the College of Arts & Sciences, said he is concerned over the lack of a student at large on the committees that hired the new Communications Vice President, Financial Vice President and Programs Vice President, the three hired positions on the MUSG executive board. A student at large is a constitutionally-required position on search committees for vice presidents.

“I see this as a serious break of our constitution and that is what is supposed to be holding up the integrity of our organization,” Wallace said.

Wallace’s petition found support with other members of MUSG, including Legislative Vice President Kyle Whelton, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“I think it’s a good concern,” Whelton said. “We want to make sure that individuals are engaged and there is a system of checks and balances in place.”

The issue first arose at the weekly Senate meeting Feb. 13 during a debate over the confirmation of Sarah McClanahan, a junior in the College of Communication, as CVP. When it was discovered that a student at large was not on the CVP committee — and subsequently that there was not one on the PVP or FVP committees — the debate was tabled until the constitutionality of the hiring process for the CVP could be reviewed by MUSG Judicial Administrator Sarah Miller, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences.

In her review, Miller found the lack of a student at large position on the hiring committee was a “violation of the letter of the constitution,” but not the spirit of the law “as it is written.”

Sarah Miller did not respond to requests for comment on the story.

Because the senate already voted on and approved the FVP and PVP hires, the same review process could not be used. This caused Wallace to submit a formal petition to ask Miller to review the constitutionality of the vote.

MUSG President Sam Schultz, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he took the majority of the blame for the lack of a student at large position on the search committees, despite the constitution stating that it is the executive vice president’s responsibility to find someone to fill the position. The EVP this year is Zach Bowman, who recently announced he will run for president.

Schultz said Bowman found someone to fill the at large role during the FVP hiring process last semester, but the interested student dropped out shortly before the hiring process took place. Schultz took over the responsibility from his EVP once he found out Bowman would run for president to remove any ethical concerns that could arise by a presidential candidate appointing someone to the committee that will hire a vice president.

Schultz said he had trouble finding someone to fill the role simply because of a lack of student interest.

“It’s hard enough to get a student to go to a free lunch that we host, let alone two days of an interview process for a position that they’ll never interact with,” Schultz said.

Schultz said he could have done a better job reaching out to interested student groups during the process.