Student Senate confirms Mary Elizabeth Thornton as vice president


Mia Hennen

Underserved senator Mary Elizabeth Thornton speaks to SGA’s Senate at the meeting on Oct. 12. At the meeting, Thornton was approved as SGA’s vice president, a role that had been vacant for nearly two months prior.

After 52 days without an SGA vice president, someone will finally fill the position. 

The student Senate confirmed underserved senator Mary Elizabeth Thornton into the position at the SGA meeting on Wednesday night.

“I felt that the qualities I have of passion, advocation, balance and integrity are just things that are really essential to that role of being the vice president of the student body,” Thornton said in an interview with The Sunflower on Tuesday.

Thornton is the third vice presidential nominee this session. The first, Kian Williams, was nominated by former president Mitchell Adamson. When Adamson resigned, Williams retracted their nomination. President John Kirk previously nominated Michael Bearth, but the student Senate rejected him last month.

Kirk held two meet-and-greet events with Thornton, after he announced the nomination last Wednesday. 

“Since this is such a unique year, usually you have those meet-and-greets with the president and vice president nominees while you’re going through the election process before you’re even elected, so everybody gets the opportunity to meet,” Kirk said. “I don’t think this [year] should be any different.”

Kirk said at the SGA meeting that there were about 15 to 20 students who attended the meet-and-greets.

Thornton was confirmed as an underserved senator this semester and served on the ways and means committee. 

“I think what ultimately made me want to join SGA is when I realize what SGA does, it’s not just some club that meets on Wednesday — it’s way more than that,” she said.

President John Kirk said that one of the things that stuck out in Thornton’s application was her involvement on campus, which is what the Senate said that the last vice presidential nominee Bearth lacked. 

“The one that really stuck out to me was Mary Elizabeth because of her interaction with student affairs, greek life, peer coaching, really everywhere on campus really knows her heart,” Kirk said in an interview with The Sunflower on Tuesday. 

While the president and vice president are usually elected by the student body, both Kirk and Thornton were not voted into these positions by students, Kirk became president via the line of succession, and Thornton was nominated. 

To combat this disconnect, Thornton says the goal is to bring more people into the conversation.

“One of the main points in our platform is to expand education around SGA, and I think that that’s going to be integral for involving our students … because if they don’t know what we do, how are they going to be involved?” she said. “Expanding that education and really allowing our student body to fully understand what SGA does and get them involved is how we’re going to do that.”

There were multiple other topics discussed during the meeting. Williams was confirmed as speaker pro-tempore. 

The speaker pro-tempore takes over for the speaker of the Senate when they are absent. 

“My parliamentary experience and accreditation makes me uniquely qualified to chair and parlay our meetings,” Williams said. “They ensure things run smoothly and efficiently makes all of your lives easier.”

Three organizations applying for registered student organization received their first read — an athletic training group, a Taylor Swift group and a College of Engineering ambassadors association.