ASUU position changes now total eight

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

By the end of the semester, eight ASUU executive cabinet positions will have changed, continuing the game of musical chairs within the student government.

Last year, under former Associated Students of the University of Utah President Ali Hasnain, two appointments were made midyear due to resignations.

Recent decisions to run for office, internships and an LDS mission call have led a number of high-ranking officials to leave their positions in ASUU.

Starting with the resignation of Chief of Staff Rick Pehrson, vacancies have sprung up in the positions for attorney general, student outreach director, senior class president and student advocacy director.

Although they have not been formally announced yet, the positions for non-traditional students director, campus relations director and ASUU press secretary will also be open by December.

With so many changes, ASUU President Jake Kirkham said, “I think it’s just the luck of the draw–it’s just that year. Everyone is leaving for different reasons, and these are experiences that we are excited for them to have. We don’t harbor any hard feelings.”

Kirkham said he will continue to make in-house replacements and hopes to have all positions filled by the beginning of next semester, making most changes over Winter Break.

While Hasnain only dealt with two replacements during his administration, he said he can relate to Kirkham. “Every year, the landscape kind of changes, and it depends on many factors. People have election aspirations and things come up in their lives–you can’t necessarily anticipate that,” he said.

Hasnain also followed the current policy of replacing board director positions with board members or associate directors.

“It’s definitely a challenge, but you don’t want there to be a gap in leadership,” Hasnain said. “You want ASUU to go on in a positive direction.”

Last week, Senior Class President Mindy Chidester announced that she will resign from her position to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her replacement has not yet been announced.

Non-Traditional Students Directors Dan Black and Lissy Black will be leaving ASUU for internships at the London School of Economics. Kirkham said he has been aware of this change since summer and the associate director will step in for the Blacks.

David DeMill will replace Michel Barakat as student advocacy director. DeMill is now the assistant director.

Diversity director Sadaf Baghbani will be leaving in January for an internship in South Africa. Baghbani will be working with AIDS research on a McNair scholarship. Since she will still serve for the beginning of the semester, Baghbani said, “I’ll be able to see the things I’m planning to be implemented.”

Campus Relations Director Basim Motiwala and ASUU Press Secretary Cameron Beech are considering running for office and will step down at the end of the semester. “It’s not that I have a personal problem with this administration at all–it’s strictly because I’m running for office and it would be a conflict of interest,” Beech said.”

“Almost every year,” Kirkham said, “directors resign to run for office. It’s not something we like, but it happens.” Last year, Kirkham resigned from his position as service director to run for student body president.

“I’m hoping there won’t be any more resignations,” Kirkham said. “It is unusual, we don’t usually have this many–I’d be shocked if there were any more.”