Undergraduate Student Government discusses formal proceedings for special lection of Chief Diversity Officer

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The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government senate, which meets in the Student Union, held a caucus Wednesday to discuss the special election to find a candidate Chief Diversity Officer,  as well as to lay out plans for USG moving forward. Photo by Eric Wang / The Daily Campus.

The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government senate  held a caucus Wednesday to discuss the special election to find a candidate Chief Diversity Officer,  as well as to lay out plans for USG moving forward. 

Multicultural and Diversity Senator Neha Kataria, a fourth semester political science major, read a statement regarding recent events in the senate before discussions. 

“Dear senate, this statement is in regards to B Diaz’s resignation letter. I wanted to acknowledge that they are not the only one facing harassment and this statement will be for those people as well,” Kataria said. “Our country, our institution, UConn and our organization is all divided, and this division is specifically going to hurt those from historically marginalized groups …” 

The statement Kataria read went on to reiterate that USG will not tolerate or condone fighting hate with hate and  they do not stand with personal attacks in any way. At the same time, they acknowledged  the uptick in anger and personal frustration as valid. 

“Senate leadership will challenge ourselves to lead better and is always open to new ideas,” Kataria said. “Please reach out if you need anything in and out of the senate.” 

Speaker of the senate, Luis Tascano, a sixth semester junior finance major, said the CDO applicant form will be posted Monday night in advance of the election that night. 

Toscano said all senate members will receive a meeting agenda outlining all the candidates and their platforms for the upcoming election. 

He also said only senators will be able to speak during the proceedings, though any member of USG is able to speak during the public comment segment if they have a preference for the CDO position. 

“This is to allow senators who are the voting members to express their thoughts and to ask questions properly … Any member of the public is welcome to posit their opinion. But during the actual debate on the election, only members of the senate will be allowed to make points of discussion or ask questions.” 

Luis Tascano, sixth semester junior finance major, speaker of USG senate

“This is to allow senators who are the voting members to express their thoughts and to ask questions properly,” Toscano said. “Any member of the public is welcome to posit their opinion. But during the actual debate on the election, only members of the senate will be allowed to make points of discussion or ask questions.” 

Toscano stated that during the proceedings, there will be a candidate pitch where each candidate will be given five minutes to state their platform. They will then be asked a series of questions by members of the senate. After questions, the senators will enter into discussion. Every senator has the opportunity to speak once. 

“We need to make sure to keep the conversation civil, and to make sure that anyone in the senate has an opportunity to speak should they choose to,” Toscano said. 

He said the voting process requires a two-thirds majority vote via secret ballot for a candidate to be elected. If no candidate meets the two-thirds majority, there will be an immediate runoff vote, in which the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated from the available options. Voting will conclude after a candidate has two-thirds majority votes.  

“No matter what, we will walk away from this with a CDO-elect,” Toscano said. He went on to say the meeting to determine the next CDO will take place March 24. 

Chief Diversity Officer Damani Douglas, a sixth semester political science and communication double major, said between the last senate meeting and the first, there will be a “senior send-off” for outgoing senior USG members. 

“We take a moment to recognize the seniors both for their accomplishments within USG, but also to recognize them as friends, colleagues, coworkers and generally as members of the university community,” Douglas said. 

This article was updated at 11:11 a.m. on March 18, 2021. A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Damani Douglas as “Chief of Staff.”

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