ASWU elects Norma Heredia to EVP position

Executive vice president position filled after resignation

by Peter Houston-Hencken|News Editor

Executive Vice President Norma Heredia

After junior Katie Holtzheimer resigned from the position, junior Norma Heredia stepped in as ASWU’s Executive Vice President (EVP) for the 2016-2017 school year.

The replacement process began after this year’s ASWU team was voted in, but just before school ended for the summer. Holtzheimer stepped down from the EVP position after a conduct violation. ASWU senators and President Breanna Lyons then began the process to nominate and vote for a new EVP.

“They had a week of nominations,” Lyons said. “Then we contacted all those that were nominated and they could either accept the nomination or not. Then from there, their own statement to the team for why they deserve the nomination and just deserved to be EVP. Those went out to the teams and then we had everyone vote.”

Lyons and the rest of ASWU followed the rules regarding a vacancy in office as described by their bylaws:

“Nominations for the office shall be held within one week of the vacancy (except in times incongruent with the regular academic year) and must remain open for one week. The assembly shall vote on the nomination within one month of the date of the vacancy.”

While the change in ASWU leadership took place during the first weeks of summer, students weren’t informed of the change until this semester. An email sent on Sept. 9 informed the student body that Holtzheimer had resigned and Heredia had taken her place.

“The timing of the email that went out…was because we didn’t think students were going to look at their emails during the summer, so we wanted to wait until everybody got back so they would actually know,” Assistant Dean of Students Dayna Coleman-Jones said.

In following the ASWU bylaws, students were not given the opportunity to vote in the election process.

Coleman-Jones did not know when the filling of a vacancy process guidelines were written or the reasoning behind them.  However, she recognized the difficulty of this specific situation in the sense that it happened as one ASWU team was leaving and another was just taking office at the end of the year.

“All I can think of it was that [the writers of the bylaws] were thinking of the situation when it’s happening mid-year,” Coleman-Jones said. “So let’s pull somebody from within who’s already got a knowledge of the system and has already been elected by somebody. Which is why you don’t pull a non-elected person. It has to be somebody voted on by peers.”

At the time of the replacement process Heredia was the senator of Boppell Hall. Heredia was elected to ASWU to represent the views of the students residing in Boppell Hall.

“The idea is that [the students] have already elected all these other people to be a part of ASWU and to represent them and those people already come in as a representative,” Lyons said.

Heredia also sees that the ASWU bylaws make it so the senators vote on behalf of the students, therefore giving students a voice.

“In the bylaws it says that senators get to nominate,” Heredia said. “And considering how senators were elected by their constituents—because there’s also a key piece in the bylaws that says a senator has to vote in the best interests of its constituents. So I think in that way it is kind of representing the student voice.”

However, Heredia is confident that Lyons and the ASWU team followed the bylaws as well as they could.

“However, I do see the other side and I can understand where some students may feel not included in the election process,” Heredia said. “It is unfortunate, that can be the case. The bylaws are so ambiguous that we took the best measures that we could at that time.”
Heredia will hold the EVP position for the 2016-2017 school year and said she looks forward to being a part of the ASWU Executive Council. Heredia hopes to be a support system for incoming senators.

“I know being a senator myself last year, I know how much I looked up to the EVP and how much he was a great support system,” Heredia said.