GUSA holds unexpected debate over election of new speaker

GUSA roundupGUSA’s first order of business this semester was to elect a new speaker after former Speaker George Spyropoulos (COL ’14) resigned in December. The Senate went against precedent and GUSA’s bylaws to vote against approving Vice-Speaker Samuel Greco’s (SFS ’15) and instead led a ballot election where Senator Emily Siegler (SFS ’14) won the speakership.

Greco lost the vote 13 to 9, and Siegler beat him and two other candidates to win the ballot election.

The vice-speaker would normally take the position of the speaker without a vote in such a case. Bylaw 2.05e states that the vice-speaker must “assum[e] the role of Speaker should the Speaker resign or be removed,” though the bylaw is vague does not mention whether a confirmation vote is required.

But the senators were concerned Greco was not planning to remain in the position. “To vote for someone who has alluded to step down in a few weeks, we are voting for the Senate to shutdown,” said Senator Jimmy Ramirez (COL ’15) in the debate.

Others also worried he was using the position to further his political career. Senator Adrienne Jackson (COL ’16) said: “Speakership shouldn’t be used as a campaign point.”

These worries come as GUSA members begin to organize campaigns for executive elections, which Greco could be posturing for. When asked by Vox about campaign plans, Greco refrained from commenting and stated that Election Commission campaign rules prevented him from discussing a potential campaign before it begins.

In his resignation letter, Spyropoulos believed that Greco would succeed him in accordance with this bylaw and with a precedent established last year: when former Speaker Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) won the GUSA presidency, former Vice Speaker Zachary Singer (SFS ’15) succeeded Tisa with a simple vote by acclamation.

“I want to thank Sam Greco for being an invaluable right-hand man. He has been a tremendous Vice Speaker and I have every confidence that he will do a great job in my place,” Spyropoulos wrote in his resignation letter.

In an email to Vox, Greco explained what he expected from the meeting last night: “I believe [Spyropoulos’] intentions and expectations were clear in that I would succeed him as Speaker as has been done in the past. At the very most I was expecting a simple voice vote confirming what our bylaws and precedent dictate, that the Vice Speaker succeeds the Speaker should he or she depart from the Senate.”

Echoing Greco’s belief, Senator Ken Nunnenkamp (MSB ’16) said in debate: “[The constitution] clearly says there is no vote… when the Speaker is out. We should close down the debate, and Sam assumes speakership.”

The turn of events and ensuing debate resulted in contention that consumed this semester’s first GUSA meeting.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that there were 12 no votes. An additional comment from Greco on executive elections was also added.

12 Comments on “GUSA holds unexpected debate over election of new speaker

  1. OME is this the first scandal of GUSA election season???!? We’re starting early this year, aren’t we? Can’t wait to see what mania unfolds over the next few months!

  2. Pingback: GUSA holds unexpected debate over election of new speaker : Vox … |

  3. there’s plenty of wrongs. Greco was voted to NOT be confirmed 13 votes to 9 and in the election he ran against 3 other candidates, not 2

  4. @factually

    Thank you for your note on the number of votes, we have made the correction.

    “Siegler beat him and two other candidates to win the ballot election.” We state that it’s Emilie + 2 others, which equals a total of 3 other candidates.

  5. “Still others were worried that he was a steward, and voted against him because our campus doesn’t need to be controlled by a secret society of hyperambitious clowns.”

  6. An illegitimate heir sits on the throne…winter truly has come

  7. Not that GUSA really plays a role in my (or the average student’s) daily life, but “assum[e] the role of Speaker should the Speaker resign or be removed” is vague? Does that mean the House can vote NOT to let Biden be President if Obama resigns? RNC called, they want a Tisa-Ramadan banner for their office…

    And @NedStark: “Tell me why it is more noble to change the rules at dinner than to call a proper vote of removal on the speaking floor” :)

  8. Went into the old archives. Unfortunately for those who got 3 votes in this selection, “assume the role” has been viewed as temporary in the past until confirmed. (p2)

    But classic GUSA no one cares until hiding behind procedure is the only escape route you have for incompetence. So glad I graduated, never looking back…

  9. It was 9 votes? And I’m glad I graduated too because this is all so incredibly stupid… but that being said, this procedure is not normal, the very minutes you posted prove that. The Vice President did not preside, there was no questions or debate and only a vote by acclamation. And all of that was right after Tisa resigned. Everything they did the other day they just made up.

  10. Actually, the VP was there as the minutes show. It was an acclimation vote simply because someone motioned for it – no one had a problem with that vice speaker becoming speaker. This time senators took their prerogative to ask questions and didn’t like what they heard.

  11. It was an acclimation vote because that’s what it’s supposed to be (IF even that) and the VP never presided as the minutes show… No one asked questions because there weren’t supposed to be questions. Had they asked the same questions they asked yesterday they would’ve realized Singer’s intentions to resign in 2 weeks, way sooner than Greco, the reason they “disqualified” him… This was just classic scheming.

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