Students concerned about lack of diversity in SG Executive Board candidates

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Student Government President Kori Rady speaks at a debate on February 25. Three of the Rady’s male student nominations for the Student Government Executive board are currently in the spirit group Tejas.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Of the five nominees for Student Government Executive Board made by SG President Kori Rady and Vice President Taylor Strickland, four are men, and three are members of Tejas Club — a spirit organization to which Rady belongs — leading some SG members to express concerns about the board’s diversity.

The SG Judicial Court issued a decision requiring Rady and Strickland to make their appointments for the board public before 7 p.m. Sunday. SG representatives will vote to confirm or deny Rady and Strickland’s nominations for executive board positions Tuesday. These positions include internal financial director and external financial director and are voted on by the assembly.

University-wide representative Taral Patel said he was concerned about the lack of diversity on the executive board.

“I have a lot of friends in Tejas, but I think the executive board should be very diverse because they are going to be reflecting not only the platform point of the Rady-Strickland campaign but working on executing those platform points of a very diverse student body,” Patel said.

Patel, who is serving his first term on SG, said he is the only non-white University-wide representative and said he has heard complaints from students who want to see more diversity in the organization.

“I want to make sure those concerns are addressed and everyone is included in the conversation, not just folks that have been involved in SG,” Patel said. “We need to broaden our horizons and get more students involved.”

Liberal arts representative Tanner Long said the fact that a majority of the candidates are in Tejas did not concern him as much as the lack of diversity on the board.

“That shows that [Tejas] has something working, and I want to translate what they’re doing into other student organizations that don’t necessarily have the representation they need in Student Government,” Long said. 

Long said he plans to thoroughly question the nominees during the Q&A portion of Tuesday’s meeting to determine how he’s going to vote. 

“It’s really going to come down to how effectively they can communicate their ideas,” Long said. “I don’t think it should be an easy process for them to be appointed and be on the executive board.” 

Philip Wiseman, former chief justice for the SG Judicial Court, said a rule implemented in 2011 to increase transparency requires SG to make agendas public.

According to the court’s decision, Rady and Strickland were advised to make interview questions and application materials public to the assembly. Wiseman said all information was sent in Sunday night except for transcripts of the interviews, and it will be up to the assembly to decide if this affects their ability to make a decision.

Rady said he has made an effort to make everything public for the assembly for the benefit of the newly elected representatives. 

“I think [the judicial court] felt the need to make sure all the representatives who are relatively new [are] able to understand what the entire process was,” Rady said.

Clarification: This story contains a quotation that is not completely accurate. There are two non-white University-wide representatives: Taral Patel and Shannon Geison.