The Student Assembly senate confirmed Kristin Slawter ’09 as SA vice president Tuesday night in a meeting marked by protracted debate. SA President Valerie Hopkins ’09 chose Slawter out of over 40 applicants for the position after a review process Hopkins described as “exhaustive.”
Hopkins emphasized Slawter’s dedication and urged that the senate confirm her so that “we can just start moving forward.”
The senate received Slawter’s nomination favorably and none of the senators overtly questioned her suitability for the position.
Senator Ross Gillingham ’10 asked what particular agenda items Slawter intended to pursue. Slawter stressed the necessity of deciding executive objectives promptly.
“We have until the end of November to really set in place what we want to do,” she said.
She said that she would try to take “a more holistic approach” to working with the city, students and alumni, arguing that the SA must ensure “that the William and Mary experience stays salient in the minds of the students.”
Sen. Matt Beato ’09 asked how Slawter would help compensate for the weaknesses of the SA and “fill in the cracks” as vice president, while pointing out Slawter’s positive credentials.
“I think one thing that is really good about you is that you bring some different strengths than Valerie had,” he said.
Slawter responded by noting that she hopes to bring a new perspective to the SA.
“Sometimes, the approach of the past administration has been a bit aggressive,” she said, especially in its relations with City Council members “and maybe some of our administrators.”
“I tend to take a more tactful approach,” she added.
Sen. Brittany Fallon ’11 commented on recent criticism of the nomination of Slawter, saying that some have characterized her as an SA “insider.”
“I’ve never thought of myself as an SA insider,” Slawter responded. She has been involved in the SA since her freshman year, first as class secretary and later as vice president for advocacy. “I have never been caught up in some of the negative aspects of factionalism.”
The senate confirmed Slawter’s nomination unanimously. Chief Justice of the Review Board Billy Mutell ’09 swore her in, and Slawter assumed her responsibilities as chairwoman of the assembly for the remainder of the meeting.
In other business, the senate confirmed Justin Reid ’09 as undersecretary to the Board of Visitors and Alex Bracken ’09 as secretary of College policy.
The senate debated the BOV Presidential Search Act, sponsored by Sen. Walter McClean ’09. The bill asks for clarification from the BOV regarding its methods of soliciting student opinion and expresses general disapproval of the lack of a presidential selection process.
The most contentious aspect of the bill, however, was the attached letter to be presented to the BOV, which met yesterday and again today. The letter, written collectively by the committee that approved the bill, received a mixed reaction from the senate. Several, including Sen. Charles Crimmins J.D. ’10, objected strongly to the wording of the letter. Specific passages, according to Crimmins, seemed to imply a negative reaction to the appointment of College President Taylor Reveley by condemning the BOV’s lack of a search process.
The bill, which included the amended letter, passed 14-3-0.
The Virginia Gazette Act, which was sponsored by McClean and allocates up to $700 for the purchase of 300 issues of The Virginia Gazette for an eight-week trial period, was passed unanimously.