Schmitt chooses to hold two positions

By Paul Biasco

In the Thursday April 17 edition of The Daily Illini, the article “Schmitt chooses to hold two positions,” Chime Asonye was incorrectly identified as the former student trustee. Asonye’s term as trustee does not end until June 30. Incoming trustee Paul Schmitt’s term begins on July 1.

The Daily Illini regrets this error.

The following is the story as is originally appeared in print that day.

Recently elected student trustee and student senator Paul Schmitt has chosen to take a new approach by holding on to both offices.

It has been common practice in the past for students running for trustee to also run for a seat on the Illinois Student Senate in the case that they lose the trustee race, said Chime Asonye, former student trustee.

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    Previous trustees have given up their seat on the senate, but Schmitt has chosen to hold both positions.

    “At first I was not sure whether or not to keep the seat, but something dawned on me after being elected to both,” said Schmitt, junior in LAS. “I want to make sure I am a fair representative of both the student body and the student senate when I serve my time on the board.”

    The idea of holding both offices has received a mixed opinion from current and former members of the University’s student government.

    After winning the election for student trustee and the senate, Asonye announced at the next senate meeting that he was relinquishing his position on the senate to focus on his Board of Trustees position.

    “I believe that student trustee is a full-time commitment,” Asonye said.

    The positive side of keeping a senate seat is the ability to vote on issues. A student trustee is considered an ex-officio member of ISS, which grants the trustee floor and speaking privileges on the senate.

    These privileges allow an ex-officio member to fully participate in discussion as well as the right to make and second motions.

    “Trustees always want to speak to the senate,” said Justin Randall, former student body president. “He has that ability. He is essentially a member.”

    The position of a student trustee as an ex-officio member of the senate is new this year, Randall said.

    “We want the trustee to participate, but I don’t think they should hold two offices,” Randall said. “I would call it a selfish move, another line on the resume.”

    Current student body president Jaclyn O’Day, junior in LAS, said she does not see a problem with Schmitt holding both offices.

    “In the past there has been an issue because the student trustee and the senate have become their own thing,” O’Day said, “Since he is staying on the senate we will be able to work closer with him.”

    Schmitt added that there are no rules in place against holding both offices.

    “If the students had been concerned, they certainly would not have voted for me for both offices,” Schmitt said. “There is no detrimental side to it.”

    The main reason for keeping both positions is to work closely with the student body president, Schmitt said.

    “I plan to make as many of my initiatives as I can to coexist on the board and senate,” Schmitt said.

    Another voice from the student body could be added to the senate if Schmitt were to relinquish his seat, Randall said.

    The next senator in line for Schmitt’s senate seat is Max McClintock, sophomore in LAS. McClintock served on the previous term’s senate.

    “It excludes another voice from senate,” Randall said. “Max McClintock could bring interesting ideas to the senate, but now he will not be able to do it.”

    McClintock said he did not know Schmitt was planning on keeping his senate seat.

    “I had expected him to give up his seat,” McClintock said.

    McClintock added that he does not think it is an unfair move because Schmitt won the spot.

    Schmitt said another reason for keeping the seat is to improve the relationship between the trustee and the senate.

    “There was an awful lot of complaining from former student body president Justin Randall that the student trustee was not attentive enough to the student government,” Schmitt said.

    Schmitt said if his roles as student trustee and senator become too burdensome, he can still resign from the senate.

    He does not think this will happen because he said the senate work only takes about three hours per week and the Board of Trustees meets once a month.

    “My opinion is that it ought to be a very good opportunity and something we haven’t seen in the past,” Schmitt said.