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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘Speak out’: Former senator calls for resignation of student body president, vice president

Allison Campbell
Vishnu Avva, former SGA senator, speaks to the Student Senate on Aug. 30. Avva called for the resignation of Student Body President Iris Okere and Vice President Sophie Martins.

During the second Student Government Association Senate meeting of the year, former at-large senator Vishnu Avva called for the resignation of Student Body President Iris Okere and Vice President Sophie Martins.

Avva, who recently spoke to The Sunflower regarding the same topic, stated that the “corruption happening behind the scenes by the student body president” needed to be addressed.

In the spring of 2023, Avva applied for a legislative and policy affairs director position under the Okere-Martins administration. Avva, who served as an intern for Laura Kelly, Sen. Pat Pettey and Rep. Rui Xu, says he was “beyond qualified” for the role but would never come to learn if he was the most qualified because he was not granted an interview along with several other rejected applicants.

In his address to SGA, Avva said that many others, including six members of the president’s cabinet, did not apply for their nominated positions and were being held to a different standard than other applicants.

“I think with personal connections to the president, and especially then being in the Senate beforehand, and again, what we’ve noticed in the previous articles with conflict of interest with significant others,” Avva said. “I feel as though some people might put their personal relationships over what they should do.”

Avva said that it is possible that the accepted applicants were, in fact, the “most qualified applicants,” but the fact that not every candidate was interviewed and many positions were offered in advance hinders Okere’s ability to do so.

“I’m happy I didn’t get selected because I didn’t want to be part of something that did that,” he said

Avva called for the resignation of both Okere and Martins. Okere left the meeting shortly after the call for her resignation, and Martins refused to comment, stating that she and Okere needed to confer with Amy Nguyen, their public relations director.

“I’m happy because they’ve been leaving like touting their agenda the entire time with no pushback. I think there needs to be accountability,” Avva said. “If they’re … rushing to find a statement, it means they don’t know what to say, which means something hit them.”

While Okere and Martins have yet to address Avva’s claims, Avva hopes that by sharing his experience and speaking out on behalf of others, he can inspire positive reform within SGA.

“Speak out. Make your voice heard because if you don’t speak out, it’s just going to keep on going the same way,” Avva said. “If you speak out, then people are going to hear you and they might actually work to make a decision.”

View Comments (4)
About the Contributor
Allison Campbell, News Editor
Allison Campbell is the news editor for The Sunflower. A South African native, Campbell is a junior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.

Comments (4)

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  • J

    JesseSep 6, 2023 at 11:20 am

    This a great read, super informative of the issue! I’m looking forward to learning more about this as the President and Vice-President gotten their own statement

  • J

    JoeSep 5, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    Proper capitalization is the bare minimum for proper grammar.
    Words that should be capitalized: Legislative & Policy Director, President’s Cabinet, Public Relations Director

  • J

    JackAug 31, 2023 at 11:55 am

    He is absolutely right, more power to him. The fact that the President had no rebuttal to his claims shows that they are guilty of something. I’m glad people are still not scared to speak out against corruption

  • V

    Vishnu AvvaAug 31, 2023 at 11:05 am

    Resignation is necessary. Look at the merits of the claim. This is disgusting. Misleading the student body should not be overlooked.