Student senate approves cabinet positions
Mary Bernard | Thursday, April 5, 2018
The new student body leadership took their oaths of office during student senate Wednesday night.
Student body president and junior Gates McGavick, student body vice president and junior Corey Gayheart and the student senate recited their oaths of office in front of Judicial Council president and sophomore Shady Girgis.
The senators then approved 20 positions in the new administration’s cabinet, including freshman Halena Hadi as parliamentarian, junior Briana Tucker as chief of staff, freshman Isabel Edgar as secretary and junior Dylan Jaskowski as Executive Controller. The positions were approved unanimously.
When Gayheart presented the nomination for Tucker, he said her experience as a commissioner in Flaherty Hall and as a former member of the department of diversity and inclusion made her a good fit for the role.
“Briana also is extremely level-headed and fair in her application of rules, accountability and the Student Union Constitution,” Gayheart said.
The senators discussed the nominations very little, which drew a comment from, Alyssa Ngo, a junior and the president of Diversity Council.
“I do find a bit of concern that you guys are motioning to end discussion so earlier,” Ngo said. “These positions are important. They are not just nobodies who are being nominated to these positions.”
The other 16 approvals were for cabinet positions including the director of academic affairs and the director of university policy, among others.
The only nomination that incited controversy among the group was the nomination for the director of social concerns, junior James Deitsch.
Sophomore and Duncan senator John Cresson said one of his constituents had raised concerns regarding Deitsch’s nomination for the position.
Deitsch, a former Fisher Hall senator, had allegedly been present during election allegation and appeal hearings, Cresson said.
“Because of this, there was some concern that he might have been promised a position before the election had concluded, and [the constituent] wanted that addressed in [student] senate,” Cresson said.
However, the attendance and proceedings of the election hearings could not be discussed with the student senate, Girgis said.
“That whole space, whoever was in there, whatever was discussed, is confidential,” Girgis said.
Gayheart said the rumors circulating during the election that he and McGavick had promised cabinet positions to students were false.
“The generic question of if we promised positions, we did not and we are being 100 percent honest,” McGavick said.
The senators went on to approve Deitsch’s nomination with two oppositions and two abstentions, with Cresson among those abstaining.
The nominations were the result of a lengthy interview process to assure the best people for each position, Gayheart said.
“We had literally a marathon of interviews from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. one Sunday, and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on a Saturday. And they were 15-minute interview slots, so that’s a lot of people that we interviewed,” Gayheart said.
The director of creative strategy and design in the department of development Matt Gelchion also presented to student senate regarding the upcoming Notre Dame Day. Gelchion, a Notre Dame alumnus, has been working for the University for about five years and began working for the annual giving department last year.
“When I saw it close, first-hand last year, I actually came to the conclusion that [Notre Dame Day] is a pretty awesome thing,” Gelchion said.
Notre Dame Day is a one-day event that encourages supporters of the University to donate to their favorite clubs or groups on campus.
The University has a stake in the number of donors on Notre Dame Day because a large number will help their ranking on websites like U.S. News, Gelchion said.
“The percentage of undergraduate alumni who make a gift back to their alma mater is one of the seven criteria that goes into college rankings,” he said.
Gelchion said Notre Dame Day stands out from other college and university donation days because of the voting aspect, the hundreds of groups a voter can choose from, the 23-hour live broadcast and the events for students throughout the day.
“There’s some really cool stuff that’s been put on the calendar, actually specifically for this year,” Gelchion said. “Notre Dame Day is a pretty big, involved thing.”