Student Senate

Senate fails, reconsiders, and tables the motion to confirm new PU

Editor's Note: This article was meant to be published on December 13, 2023.

The Union will be left without a permanent president when Ava Gallagher ’23G steps down to graduate. The E-Board appointed Catherine Philipps ’24 to replace Gallagher but the Senate failed to confirm Philipps.

During the December 7 E-Board meeting, Philipps was appointed to replace Gallagher as President of the Union. Per the Union’s constitution, the Senate must confirm the appointment, but failed to do so in a 6-8-2 roll call vote. Prior to the vote, the Senate held a closed discussion, but later declassified the information and discussed the rationale for the vote. Grand Marshal Ben Viner ’24 said that “it was made aware in the closed session that votes should not be cast based on the process of E-Board.” Some senators explained that they didn’t vote on the candidate, but as a disdain for the process of an internal vote.

"It seems that the Senate is trying to strong-arm E-Board and change their bylaws so that [they] get the election that [they] want,” Gallagher said of the fiasco.

Gallagher withdrew her resignation amid the chaos and will continue to serve as PU until she graduates. Gallagher also pointed out that if the confirmation were to fail, it couldn’t approach the Senate again. With hesitation to bar Philipps from becoming PU, the motion was recalled and the vote nullified.

Former President of the Union Yassen Mahmoud '22 told the Senate "effectively nothing would change, Cat would still be acting PU, she would have a different title, she would still be acting PU since she was approved by the E-Board. That would continue until her replacement was elected during the regular election. You are arguing about a title here, not anything procedural."

The Senate tabled the confirmation and will hold a virtual meeting via WebEx on December 21 at 6 pm to confirm Philipps.