Campus sophomore Nathan Mizell will be filling in for former ASUC Executive Vice President Andy Theocharous for the rest of the semester.
Theocharous, who resigned April 11 citing “tragic circumstances,” originally chose campus senior Dakota Brubaker to serve as the interim executive vice president, or EVP, until current ASUC Senator and EVP-elect Melvin Tangonan’s term begins. A Senate Select Committee — made up of the president of the ASUC, the chairs of the senate standing committees and three additional senators — rejected Brubaker on Monday, however, with a vote of 1-2 with three abstentions. The committee approved Mizell with a vote of 1-0 with four abstentions.
ASUC President Amma Sarkodee-Adoo was not present at the Monday meeting, and ASUC Senator Media Sina cast the single vote in favor of Mizell, nominating him for the EVP position.
“The vote seems contentious as some folks expressed they were on the fence, so they simply abstained,” Sina said in an email. “There were objections and back-and-fourths during voting for the same reason.”
Senator Sumrit Grewal, who chaired the committee, expressed that both candidates were “incredibly qualified,” making the decision difficult. Senator Omotara Oloye added that both candidates had different assets, which also complicated her choice.
Despite the end of the semester nearing, ASUC Chief Legal Officer Jedidiah Tsang said the committee had to choose a new EVP according to ASUC bylaws and to ensure that projects begun this year by Theocharous are completed. He added that executive officers’ terms technically do not end until the last day of spring semester finals, giving Mizell about three weeks in the position.
Brubaker said the projects that need completing include working with student organizations that received storage spaces, finishing the guidelines for the office’s advocacy grant, attending Student Union Board meetings and transitioning Tangonan into office. Grewal added that there was also still work to be done on the ASUC’s budget and space allocations.
Tsang also said a major focus of the Senate Select Committee’s interviews with candidates addressed the transition between this year’s office and Tangonan’s term.
Mizell said he ran for the position because he believes leadership is important, especially in times of stress such as the pandemic. He added that he has the time and knowledge required and is interested in participating in important conversations, including those regarding student finances and campus revenue.
“I want to make the time meaningful and what I mean by that is utilizing the powers and privileges of the office,” Mizell said. “Everyone has an opportunity to serve in a different capacity, and I just look at this as one capacity to serve in.”
The Senate Select Committee met again Wednesday for almost two hours to evaluate its decision. After an hour of closed session, Sarkodee-Adoo motioned to revoke the committee’s nomination.
After Sina objected and the group deliberated on how to proceed, Sarkodee-Adoo revoked her motion.
“While I have feelings, I don’t want to strongarm anyone into anything,” Sarkodee-Adoo said at the meeting. “If people feel a sense of opposition to that, then I don’t want to carry it forward.”
The committee kept Mizell as its choice and eventually adjourned tensely.
The nomination became official at the ASUC Senate meeting Wednesday after Mizell was approved by the full senate and sworn in.
“It has been super rewarding to help the office continue their projects while I was in interim,” Brubaker said in an email. “I wish Nathan nothing but the best, I’m sure he will help accomplish the rest of the office’s work.”