By Jacob Solis
It was out with the old and in with the new on Wednesday as 22 senators-elect became senators proper last Wednesday with the arrival of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada’s 84th session. Those senators were joined by the current members of the executive board, the president-elect and vice president-elect, each of whom were also sworn in on Wednesday.
The meeting itself started with some words of encouragement from outgoing President Caden Fabbi, whose legacy includes the still-under-construction “Pack Place” on the third floor of the Joe and the recently released ASUN strategic plan. Fabbi congratulated the senate and reminded the senators about the change they can affect through their positions.
Fabbi’s remarks were quickly followed by the swearing-in of ASUN’s new president and vice president, Brandon Boone and Jacob Springmeyer, respectively. The pair won a commanding victory in the annual ASUN elections last month after running on a ticket together.
With 28 official duties written into the Statutes of the Associated Students, the president is by any measure ASUN’s busiest officer. In the coming days and weeks, Boone will fill out his executive cabinet with directors for the departments of clubs and organizations, legislative affairs, programming, and Blue Crew.
With the initial swearing-ins taken care of, the senate, led by senate Secretary Lexi Jacobson, took to the business of electing a new speaker of the senate. The speaker is essentially the chair of the senate, leading meetings and generally keeping order with gavel in hand.
Two candidates for speaker emerged: Sen. Hannah Jackson, College of Education, and Sen. Noah Teixeira, College of Business. Jackson focused on leading from behind, emphasizing the role all senators might play in the decisions of the speaker.
“This position isn’t about me; it’s about the senate as the whole,” Jackson said during her prepared remarks. “As a leader, I always want to be someone who listens, because everything I do needs to be in the best interest of you guys and in the best interest of our constituents.”
This leadership style tripped up Jackson, however, when she was asked by Sen. Luis Barragan, College of Science, about how she might keep order by leading from behind. After a long pause, Jackson answered, “This is another thing I need to figure out.”
In contrast, Teixeira played up a different leadership style that was more active and, ultimately, more appealing to a larger number of senators. During his speech, he noted a number of different strategies to maintain order on the floor, from holding committee chairs accountable in oversight meetings to rigidly enforcing Robert’s Rules of Order to keep meetings “germane.”
“The senate sets the tone for the entire session,” Teixeira said in his own remarks. “We are the first elected officials that get to make decisions and start writing legislation that will affect our campus.”
Teixeira eventually won the day with 12 votes. Jackson pulled in six while two senators, including Jackson’s brother, Trenton Jackson of the College of Business, abstained.
Jackson did get a consolation prize, however, when she was elected as the senate’s speaker pro tempore. The speaker pro tempore’s main duty is running the senate internship program, which produces a fair amount of future senators.
Following Teixeira’s election, the remaining 21 senators were sworn in as a group, and the senate elected the chairs for the senate’s six standing committees. It should be noted, however, that all these proceedings took more than 3 1/2 hours, including two recesses.
It is unlikely that any other meeting this session will last as long, though with a legislative session coming up next January, only time will tell.
Jacob Solis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.