WSUSA President Gregory J. Woodfield:
Respectfully, I write to you on behalf of the WSUSA Senate regarding concerns about your ability to faithfully execute the constitutional responsibilities and contractual obligations of your office. Our legislative body recognizes two matters of business necessary of discussion as the university moves into the new semester. We, the WSUSA Senate, hereby request your presence at the next Senate meeting to address issues related to the upcoming elections and your lack of attendance at official Senate meetings.
The student body elections at Weber State University serve as an imperative part of ensuring student voices are both heard and acted upon. Due to the significance of this function, it is essential our elections be executed properly. That said, it is the opinion of the Senate that the actions taken by your office are not meeting the demands of the election cycle. As the WSUSA Constitution states, “The Executive Branch shall oversee the WSUSA Elections” (Article V, Section One). As the head of the Executive Branch, the President is ultimately responsible for the integrity of our elections.
As part of the responsibilities pertaining to elections, the By-laws, Title V, Section B, #4 reads, “The Elections Executive Chair shall be appointed by the Executive Branch of WSUSA…” Further, the By-laws, Section C, #2 states the Chair “must be selected by the last week in September, as well shall be appointed by the first week of October.” The Senate Internal Affairs Committee recognized these actions did not occur until mid-November, representing a major failure in meeting constitutional mandates.
It should be noted that as a direct consequence of this delay, additional violations of the By-laws came about. By-laws, Title V, Section C, #3 expresses that an election committee of at least ten members must be selected by the Executive and Legislative Chairs by the first week of November. Without the appointment of an Executive Chair, the committee was not chosen before the November deadline. Furthermore, By-laws, Title V, Section C, #4 requires a meeting between the elections chairs, committee, and a representative of the Judicial Branch to discuss the Constitution and By-laws, a training packet, and establish the elections timetable. This meeting was to occur by the end of November, but the delay in appointing the Executive Chair prevented this meeting before the deadline. As a result of this meeting transpiring late, By-laws, Title V, Section C, #6 was also violated. The By-laws mandate the elections packet be produced by the elections committee and presented to the Senate by the last week in November for feedback. The packet did not reach the Senate until the eighth of December.
Moving to our second concern, the office of President is unique in that the officer holding the position is not only the head of the Executive Branch, but also an ex-officio member of the Senate, as outlined by the Constitution, Article VI, Section Two. To be clear, as an ex-officio member, while you do not hold voting privileges, your input is considered valuable to the legislative body. While neither the Constitution or By-laws explicitly state the President must attend Senate meetings, the Senate believes you are neglecting responsibilities listed in the presidential contract. Under the General Responsibilities section of said contract, the President is obligated to be “thoroughly familiar with policies and keep up with procedural changes as they occur throughout the year.” Additionally, the President is to “work closely with every other member of the WSUSA.” Provided your role in the legislative process, both as an ex-officio member and in signing or vetoing bills, it is not our opinion that your contract can be wholly executed without attendance at official Senate meetings.
President Woodfield, the Senate is respectful and appreciative of your position and the great amount of responsibilities that come with it. However, we also recognize that the issues listed above are not new to you. It is our understanding that both advisors and the Legislative Vice President have reached out to you on multiple occasions leading up to the writing of this letter. As representatives of the student body, the Senate is deeply concerned by this poor display of respect for the Constitution, By-laws, and the presidential contract. Once again, we invite you to address these issues at the next Senate meeting, which will occur on Monday, January 9, 2017. The meeting will occur at 2:30 PM in Shepherd Union Building Room 404. Please recognize that failure to adequately address these concerns may result in further action.
On behalf of the WSUSA Senate and our respective constituencies, we look forward to the forthcoming conversation.