Following the resignation of Vice President-elect Raphael Jaquette, UT Senate of College Councils held an impromptu special election for the position Thursday night.
“Characterizing this past week for Senate as ‘difficult’ could be the largest understatement you could make,” Senate President Austin Reynolds said.
Elena Ivanova, a public health and Plan II sophomore, won the vice president position in a ballot vote over Aman Hingu, a public health and civil engineering junior.
Ivanova’s platform focused on internal improvements such as more resources for those drafting new legislation and increased collaboration among the various college councils. Additionally, Ivanova said she wants to update the code of conduct and stress that violations are unacceptable. She also plans to create a chance for anonymous feedback to be reviewed each week in order to keep the social climate in the Senate friendly and professional.
“Senate has always been a professional organization but it’s also a place you come and find some of your best friends,” Ivanova said. “It has to have a culture of respect.”
Jaquette’s resignation was released via email Saturday. Reynolds said “resigning wasn’t easy for him” and many Senate members are pained to see him go.
“I am distributing this letter to notify everyone that I will be stepping down from the vice president role for personal and mental health reasons,” wrote Jaquette, a Middle Eastern studies and Arabic junior. “I do not believe I can commit to the role completely as I did beforehand.”
English senior Reynolds said this abrupt change created instability, but vice presidential candidates Ivanova and Hingu’s swift call to action proves Senate’s adaptability.
“We need to move forward together and ensure we have a stable organization to make change in the upcoming year,” Reynolds said.
Ivanova said she wants to expand outreach to non-legislative organizations on campus to ensure a variety of voices on campus are heard. She also said she loves the legislation process and takes pride in all of the opportunities she has been given through Senate to make change for the University.
“As an at-large, I got to pass my first piece and that was a really great thing to be able to go to administration and see them take (my) input,” Ivanova said. “(I love) seeing that interaction between the student and administrator and seeing that everyone (in Senate) cares about the future of this University.”