Acting student body president talks priorities for the summer


Khánh Nguyễn

Student Body Vice President Michael Bearth talks to The Sunflower about his goals for the association during the summer. Bearth will serve as acting student body president while Kitrina Miller is out of the country.

Student Body Vice President Michael Bearth will have his hands full this summer. 

That’s because, until August, he will also serve as acting student body president. 

Bearth was appointed to the temporary position Wednesday by elected Student Body President Kitrina Miller, who will be in Uganda until Aug. 7 for an applied learning experience. The two were elected in May on the “Together We Can” ticket.

“I trust Michael (Bearth) to ensure that SGA continues the work we have set out to accomplish,” Miller said in a press release announcing the appointment. 

In that regard, Bearth said one of his top priorities this summer is to find a permanent treasurer for the upcoming 62nd session of Student Government Association. 

The executive cabinet has been filling up over the last few weeks, with Miller making interim appointments to the student advocate, chief of operations, and treasurer positions.

But interim treasurer Stella Yang — who also served as treasurer last year — will graduate in December, so Miller and Bearth hope to find a true replacement before then. 

Any interim appointees will need senate approval in the fall semester before serving on the cabinet in a permanent capacity. 

Bearth is also currently organizing retreats for both SGA cabinet members and SGA senators. The retreats will serve as a training opportunity for new and old members.

Members will learn “this is the way things are going, these are expectations set forth,” Bearth said. “And [we will] provide Q&A in order to give them the best chance going forward.” 

Khánh Nguyễn
Bearth is sworn into office as student body vice president at the SGA 62nd Session Inauguration and Installation Ceremony. The first-time ceremony was held April 25.

This summer, Bearth also plans to take a look at some of SGA’s practices as a whole and evaluate if there are any that need changes. 

As president of the senate, the student body vice president is in charge of determining some rules for how the legislative body conducts itself, including deadlines for submitting legislation. 

Bearth said he is taking a different approach compared to recent vice presidents past by documenting those rules in a guidebook. 

“(A guidebook will) provide structure and help to separate the two branches (executive and legislative),” he said. 

Once Bearth has prepared the book, he will present it to the Student Senate for approval. Senators will have the option to propose amendments to the book. 

“If they vote in favor, this is now the standing rule. I can’t change it, and they can’t change it unless it is put to a vote,” he said. “So it’s no longer at my discretion.” 

The Legislative Journal, which acts as a constitution for SGA, does not restrict the student body vice president from temporarily serving as student body president. 

“The order that was issued gave me the powers; it didn’t actually make me president,” Bearth said.

But with all the responsibilities piling up, Bearth said he is considering appointing a senator to temporarily handle his vice presidential duties. 

A senior majoring in mechanical engineering and physics, Bearth is a former battalion maintenance management chief in the United States Marine Corps. 

He originally came to WSU as an art history major in 2010, but left after a semester to join the Marines.

Since returning to Wichita State in 2015, Bearth has worked as an advisor for PAVE (Peer Advisors for Veteran Education) and served as a veteran senator in previous SGA sessions. 

“At first it was literally just show up, go to class, go home,” he said. “But then I started getting involved on campus, so my course load dropped back.”

Bearth is also a student involvement ambassador and treasurer for WSU’s chapter of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars.