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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Student Supreme Court finds Okere administration cabinet appointments constitutional

Mia Hennen
Chief Justice Maureen Wetta speaks to various people at Wichita State at the State of the Student Body on Sept. 6, 2023. The Student Supreme Court placed an injunction on the special election results after being appealed on Jan. 25, with the Court’s order signed by Wetta. (File photo).

After receiving five different requests challenging Student Body President Iris Okere’s cabinet appointments and other leadership positions within the Student Body Association, the Supreme Court unanimously denied these requests, signed by Chief Justice Maureen Wetta.

Vishnu Avva, a former at-large senator, was represented by Kian Williams, another former SGA senator. Avva made five requests to the court about “concerns regarding the legality of the cabinet appointments made by the Okere Administration during the 66th session.”

Avva has previously expressed frustrations about the application process for positions in Okere’s cabinet. During an SGA meeting, Avva further called for the resignation of both Okere and Student Body Vice President Sophie Martins.

Four positions were called into question by this court filing: 

  • Student Body Treasurer, currently held by Jia Wen Wang
  • Director of Legislative Affairs and Policy, held by Valeria Paunetto
  • Graduate Student Advocate, held by Tatumn Graham
  • Code of Ethics and Accountability Task Force Chair, currently held by Aubany Russell.

Request #1

Avva asked the Court to intervene and prevent the four listed “offending parties” from exercising their power until the Court comes to a full decision about all requests. 

The Court found that Avva did not have the standing to bring the case to the Court, meaning that they did not feel Avva had “sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged.”

Request #2

Avva also wanted the Court to rule the application process both unconstitutional and a violation of Article X of the Student Government Association’s bylaws.

According to Article X, Chapter 2, Subsection 2, “the President shall nominate the most qualified applicant for the position based on the applicant’s application and interview and shall present the nominee to the Senate.”

The Court interpreted Article X as leaving the need for both an interview and an application in order to determine the most qualified applicant up to the president’s discretion.

Request #3

Avva’s third request was that the Senate bills and executive orders that verified these four offices should be nullified and the offices should be voided. The Court found no grounds to vacate those offices or nullify those documents.

Request #4

Avva asked that if the Court cannot vacate these offices, even if they find the legislation unconstitutional, they should submit documentation to the Membership Review Board with their findings.

Based on the previous rulings, the Court found no reason to submit challenges towards those offices.

Request #5

Avva requested that the Court allow public, oral arguments about the previous requests in order to get the most impartial verdict.

The Court found “no compelling reason” to do so. This request was denied. The Court’s full dissent can be read here.

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About the Contributors
Trinity Ramm
Trinity Ramm, Managing Editor
Trinity Ramm is the managing editor and former sports editor for The Sunflower. This is her second year on staff. Ramm is a senior English Lit major and a sociology minor with a certificate in film studies. In her limited spare time, she can be found at the movie theater, browsing some obscure film database or crocheting. Ramm uses she/her pronouns.
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing.

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    StudentSep 25, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Weirdly, we have an online application if that essentially means nothing now.