Senate President-Elect Pledges Diversity, Faces Criticism

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Incoming Undergraduate Student Government (USG) President of the Senate Scott McCain was elected Friday, April 13 on a platform of making student government more inclusive, but he faced criticism for his recordkeeping as senate secretary.

Scott McCain is a sophomore from Evansville, Indiana who first participated in USG on September 2017 as a senator representing the Mock Trial Team. McCain then ran for and secured a position in the USG Oversight Committee in November 2017. In January 2018, current USG Senate President Brandon Rubacha appointed McCain as the senate secretary.

“He really was a mentor to me,” McCain said of Rubacha. “I am grateful for Brandon feeling as if he can trust me with the senate secretary position.”

The USG senate secretary takes meeting minutes and attendance for the chamber. During the April 13 USG president of the senate election, members of the chamber criticized McCain for errors he made while serving in this position.

A USG senator claimed she was almost kicked out of student government because of an error by McCain.

Outgoing Senate President Rubacha acknowledged there were problems with McCain’s minutes and took responsibility for it.

“I accept responsibility. I have overlooked meeting minutes because I was focused on other things with the senate,” Rubacha said.

McCain pledged to do better as senate president during the debate when the minute taking controversy was raised.

“I accept I have flaws,” McCain said, before saying he would work on those skills in cooperation with the Senate.

The USG president of the senate is elected by members of the USG senate, similar to the presiding officers of other legislative bodies.

Four candidates contested the election: Senate Secretary Scott McCain, Senator Kendra Stutzman, Senator Elizabeth Mathews, and Senator Duncan Hitti.

After three rounds of voting from the members of the Senate, McCain was elected in the last round 17 to 8 over Stutzman.

McCain ran on a platform that called for “a progressive balance" to foster a more inclusive student government.

“My legislative agenda is going to be a push for diversity and inclusiveness,” McCain said.

McCain also pledged to increase the speed at which USG committees were formed.

“I would like to work on things earlier on,” McCain said, mentioning the formation of the Elections and Oversight Committees as priorities.

“I would like for more resolutions and initiatives to come in once we hit the ground running,” McCain said.

One of the proposals McCain said he would look at was by Senator Duncan Hitti, who ran against him for the president of the senate position.

During the election, Hitti had proposed achieving “maximum representation” in the chamber and ensuring there was always the number of student legislators necessary to achieve quorum through allowing organizations to appoint alternate legislators.  

McCain said he was unsure how  Hitti’s plan would accord with the standing constitution and statutes of USG. However, McCain pledged to look into it.

“I want to reach out to Duncan Hitti,” McCain said, “and maybe develop and implement a plan that he feels will take USG to the next level.”

McCain stressed that he would do his best as president of the senate to listen to all voices.

“I feel as if I have a personality to hear both sides and be able to be that mediator that is necessary for the president of senate position,” McCain said.

McCain is scheduled to begin his tenure April 28.

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