Stauffer resigns as next student body president, McConnell assumes position

By Brad Barber

Photo provided

Student Body President-elect Will Stauffer resigned from the position on May 7, the same day he was supposed to be handed the gavel by 2012-13 Student Body President Daniel Binkoski at the annual Forester Night awards ceremony.

Vice President-elect Luke McConnell has assumed the role and is the new Student Senate president. The transition from Binkoski to McConnell was made official at the Student Senate meeting May 8.

“For personal reasons, I decided that it would be best for everyone if I stepped down,” Stauffer said. “I think Luke will do a great job as president and I have full confidence in his abilities to run Student Senate.”

Stauffer, a junior who served as the commuter representative on Senate this year, was elected student body president on March 14. He defeated Jason Wright, who had served as the vice president during 2012-13.

Binkoski received Stauffer’s resignation May 7.

Although Senate traditionally has a ceremonial passing of the gavel towards the conclusion of Forester Night, the official transitional meeting, when the members assume their new office, is the last meeting of the academic school year, Binkoski said. Instead of passing the gavel this year, Binkoski spoke of the next president as “whoever.”

“We just did not feel like we had enough time to go ahead and change things,” Binkoski said. “It would have been kind of last minute and rushed. So we chose to leave it out.”

Binkoski sent a campus email announcing the change and vacant vice president position after the transitional meeting May 8. He said that he wanted to make sure that the Senate members knew first, which was not an option if they passed the gavel at Forester Night.

“I kind of wanted to make sure that Senate fully understood that Luke is their president … and announce it officially to campus right after that,” Binkoski said. “It made the most sense, obviously because next year’s Senate is the one working the most with the president.”

McConnell, a current freshman, was named the next president in place of Stauffer because of the guidelines outlined for succession in the body’s constitution, Binkoski said. Article 15 of the Student Senate Constitution directs the question of succession of the president to Article Six Section Two A, which outlines the duties of the vice president. The constitution states that the vice president “assumes the duties of the president in his/her absence or in the event that she resigns or is impeached.”

However, Stauffer and McConnell were not the president and vice president, respectively, at the time of the resignation because the transitional meeting had not yet occurred.

Binkoski said that McConnell became president-elect as soon Stauffer resigned because the newly elected Executive Board (EB) was already planning and making decisions for next year.

“They have the authority for next year’s EB as they immediately begin serving in those positions,” Binkoski said.

McConnell, who had mulled a presidential run against Stauffer, said that he feels confident that he can do the job.

“I originally decided to run for vice president in order to give an upperclassman the opportunity to serve as president,” McConnell said. “As vice president, I would gain experience and knowledge on how to be a better president in future years. However, in recent turn of events, I am ready to step forward and take on the challenge as president, to serve the HU student body in the best way possible.”

McConnell will be the second consecutive president taking the position as a freshman and serving as a sophomore. Binkoski was also elected as a freshman, unopposed, and served for two years. McConnell said the presidency was unexpected but he does not see being a sophomore as a significant setback in the position.

“I think there are challenges in any leadership position as you go into it,” he said. “Being a sophomore I might not have quite the resources that I might have if I had another year, but I am up to the challenge of creating the contacts and I have people around me who will help me, support me in that.”

To fill McConnell’s vacated vice president seat, there will be a special election May 13-14. Wright is planning on running to serve in that capacity again next year, despite accepting a position as a student leader at the Friesen Center for Volunteer Service in the aftermath of the Senate election.

“I’ve thought long and hard and believe that I have the time and abilities to adequately serve both,” Wright said. “This year I thoroughly enjoyed my job … and with the opening I’d love to continue serving the campus this way.”

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