VP Of Student Initiatives Connor Bourff, A&S ’15, To Replace Marchese.
UGBC Executive Vice President (EVP) Chris Marchese, A&S ’15, confirmed last night that he has stepped down from his role for “personal reasons.”
According to Marchese, the decision was made official last Tuesday, when he informed the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), and was announced to UGBC members at last night’s general meeting.
“For the remainder of this semester I’m going to really be reflecting on where I am at in life and where I want to go, and then when we get back from Winter Break, I plan to meet with [UGBC] Executive Council to see where UGBC is at, and if I can make a contribution, I would like to do so in whatever manner that Executive Council finds appropriate,” he said.
Marchese and UGBC President Nanci Fiore-Chettiar, A&S ’15, confirmed that Connor Bourff, VP of Student Initiatives and A&S ’15, will replace Marchese effective immediately.
Bourff was selected by the Executive Council on Thursday to become the new EVP. The Executive Council is comprised of the President, the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion (VPDI), Vice President for Student Organizations (VPSO), Vice President for Student Initiatives (VPSI), Vice President for Communications (VPoC), and Vice President for Financial Affairs (VPFA). Mike Martina and Gabi San Martin, co-directors of Undergraduate Leadership Academy and both A&S ’15, serve as ex-officio members of the Executive Council, according to Fiore-Chettiar.
The Student Assembly was not consulted to approve this replacement—as is mandated by the UGBC Constitution—according to both Marchese and UGBC President Pro Tempore Mike Rosella, A&S ’15.
Section VI of the UGBC Constitution states that the succession of the EVP in the event of his or her absence shall occur in the following order: President Pro Tempore of the Student Assembly, VPDI, VPSO, VPSI, and VPFA.
Fiore-Chettiar said via email that that section of the Constitution does not apply to situations in which the EVP does not assume the presidency. She also said that there is no formal procedure for the approval of the decision by SA. Instead, she said that the Executive Council consulted Marchese, as the outgoing EVP.
Rosella said that he was not asked by Fiore-Chettiar to assume the position of EVP, nor was he consulted about the choice of Bourff as Marchese’s replacement.
“The way it was described to me is that the order of succession is ultimately determined by the Executive Council, and in the interest of continuity, they decided the position should be passed down to the someone in the Executive Council,” Rosella said. “I fully support that.”
Fiore-Chettiar confirmed in an email that Rosella was never offered the position.
“Executive Council made this decision together and although we had several reasons for making this decision one of the most important is this: whoever took Chris’s spot had to be familiar with all aspects of UGBC, not just the Student Assembly,” she said. “Unfortunately, the Constitution provided us with very little guidance throughout this process.”
Marchese said that the decision was made in conjunction with OSI.
“At the end of the day, UGBC’s Constitution is not really up to UGBC. For interpretation, it is up to the Office of Student Involvement [OSI],” he said.
The UGBC webpage states that, “Everything from the Student Assembly’s legislation to its voting records to UGBC’s Constitution and Standing Rules can be found below.” The Constitution, however, was not readily available.
“Our Constitution, when it was changed two years ago, basically makes every UGBC decision subjugated to the Office of Student Involvement,” Marchese said.
He said that the aforementioned rule overrides the other procedures set forth in the Constitution.
“Our new Constitution makes it very clear that whatever decisions that [UGBC] makes or thinks that we want to make can be overridden by the Director of OSI,” he said. “Our Constitution can be ignored if that’s what the Director of OSI wants.”
Bourff was next in line for the position of EVP after VPDI Martin Casiano, A&S ’15, and VPSO Dhara Bhatt, CSOM ’15 declined to assume the vacant role, Marchese stated.
Marchese said he endorses Bourff’s selection given the similarities and overlap between SA and SI.
“The reason why I support [Bourff] is because he knows the difference between leading people and managing situations,” he said.
At the current time, the three managers that oversee Student Initiatives (SI) will be running SI department meetings, and Fiore-Chettiar will provide guidance, Marchese said. A final selection for the new VPSI will likely not be reached until the spring semester, when other potential candidates will return from study abroad trips.
Rosella does not expect that the abrupt change in leadership will affect the functioning of SA for the rest of the semester.
“I think with Chris and the leadership in [SA] have set forth a good precedent,” he said.