Okan resigns as AFAB chair
January 16, 2012
The Allocable Fees and Appropriations Board (AFAB) chair, Patrick Okan, has resigned for personal reasons. Benjamin Blanchard, the vice-chair of AFAB, will be the interim chair until a new chair is appointed, as per Student Senate by-laws, said President Tyler Halverson.
Halverson said a new chair would be appointed by AFAB’s first meeting of the semester on Thursday, Jan. 26.
“We can’t afford to wait. It is not fair to the students to wait,” said Halverson.
When the AFAB resumes its meetings, the first thing its members will be going over is budget deliberations for student organizations. While Halverson said the best way for Senate to overcome the loss of Okan, is to “keep going,” the loss of Okan will not be easy to overcome.
“We lost one of the most valuable people on Senate,” said Halverson. “We would not have gotten half the things done this past semester if it wasn’t for him.”
Okan tendered his resignation in a Jan. 7 letter to Halverson, who in turn notified the Senate on Jan. 9.
Okan was the second-most senior member of the Senate, second only to Halverson. He served three years in various student government positions: Shared Governance director; chair of the Facilities and Fee Board; election commissioner; and, most recently, AFAB chair. Okan has also resigned from his position as election commissioner.
“Though I am no longer a part of the Senate, I have tremendous faith in its members, in President Halverson and in my successor, Benjamin Blanchard,” Okan said. “And although I wish I weren’t leaving it, I am at ease knowing that the Senate remains in very strong and capable hands.”
Blanchard has expressed interest in the full-time chair’s position, and Halverson said he is the most qualified and has his support. For now, as the interim chair, Blanchard is optimistic for his new role and knows what needs to be done, but wishes the circumstances would have been different.
“I am excited to take on the role of AFAB chair. However, I do wish the circumstances in which the change occurred were different, as the AFAB has lost an extremely valuable member of our committee,” Blanchard said.
The AFAB currently has three major things it needs to accomplish this semester, Blanchard said in an email statement.
“The highest priority is to complete the budget for the student orgs,” he said. “Orgs have applied for roughly $575,000 and the AFAB has a mere $200,000 to give out. With such a large amount to cut from the budget, the AFAB will take a significant amount of time in these first few weeks back to devote to budget deliberations.”
Another project, said Blanchard, is for the AFAB to work on the Senate’s budget for 2012-2013.
“Finally, in late February, we will need to do additional budget hearings and deliberations for the Club Sports,” Blanchard said. “This process is very similar to the process we are involved in now for student orgs.”
Halverson said inquiries from anyone interested in filling the position of AFAB chair on a permanent basis should be brought to him. Those interested in becoming the election commissioner should contact Vice President Carlan Strand as soon as possible.