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Interim president seeks student involvement

February 10, 2011

Student Senate President Leigh Monson formally resigned from his position at the Senate meeting on Feb. 1. Vice President Jason Keck accepted the position of interim president.

At the same meeting, Ashley Goettl was unanimously voted into the newly vacant vice-presidential position.

“I really value Leigh’s leadership,” said Student Senate Academic Adviser Paul Shepherd. “He accomplished a lot, even though it was a short period of time.”

During Monson’s brief tenure as president, the Senate revised their election rules and passed the Falcon Promise.

Serving as Senate president is not a difficult job, Monson said. His decision to resign, however, came from a combination of increased personal and academic responsibilities.

Prioritizing is essential in order to be successful on the Senate, said Jayne Dalton, the director of Student Affairs and Academic Services. “You kind of have to be crazy to do this job.”

The position of president involves making sure the duties of the Senate are being carried out successfully, Keck said.

In addition to monitoring the senators in and away from meetings, the president manages the Senate executive board and meets with the chancellor, staff and faculty to understand their needs, as well as the students’, Monson said.

“Essentially I worked as the faculty liaison to the student body,” Monson said.

Dalton and Monson said that they are confidant that Keck will do a good job leading the Senate body.

The role of interim president was secured by the vice president as per the Senate bylaw, Shepherd said.

As for the replacement of vice president, applications were distributed among the Senate body. The executive board then made a recommendation for the remaining senators to vote on, Shepherd said.

Keck said that he plans to continue with Monson’s philosophy of taking student input seriously, rather than focusing on a personal agenda. “If there are any issues that need [to] change or if everything is going good, we would like to hear about that,” Keck said.

Keck is not the only one with the priority of developing strong communication with the student body.

“I would really hate to see student relations go into a backslide,” Dalton said.

She added that the relationship between the student body and Senate has been improving, and that she hopes to continue to bridge the gap between the students and their government.

With the importance of student involvement in mind, Keck said that he is looking to get all of the student directorships filled.

In addition to encouraging student participation in the Senate, there are other issues that the Senate will address.

Even though the Senate passed the Falcon Promise, it continues to demand “a lot of behind-the-scenes work.” This includes working with Chancellor Dean Van Galen, because the Board of Regents has yet to pass the differential tuition solution, Keck said.

Springtime is also the time that the Senate has designated to fairly distribute campus organization budgets, said First Year Representative Charlotte Evans.

In April, the Senate will begin working toward the election of a new president for the next academic year, Keck said.

With the election revisions made, this process should run more smoothly, Monson said.

Until that time, Keck said that he is eager to continue with the spring semester.

The students working for the Senate do so in order to further the prospects of the students, Keck said. As well as to “make sure that the student voices are heard.”