Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Victoria Owens selected as new speaker of the senate

After more than two hours of presentation, debate and deliberation, Student Sen. Victoria Owens was installed as the new speaker of the senate during Wednesday night’s Senate meeting. Owens was the only candidate who did not anticipate being nominated for the position.

Four candidates, an abnormally high number for speaker of the senate elections, were nominated by members of the Student Senate for the role. 

Newly confirmed Sen. Michael Miller nominated At-Large Sen. Jasmine Peng, citing her experience in the Student Senate as well as her ability to “uplift and maintain new senators.” Peng’s presentation focused on her desire to “foster a sense of unity” between new and returning senators and her eagerness to build relationships within the Senate.

“When I first stepped into Senate chambers … it was a bit daunting,” Peng said. “I never want any new senator to feel the same anxiety and uncertainty I did in those early days. My door will always be open, and I’m ready to offer guidance and support to anyone who needs it.”

Sen. Emanuyel Brown recommended Sen. AJ Haynes for the position. Brown, who spoke in Haynes’ favor, said he was a “true leader” more than capable of applying his vision of inclusion and connection for the Senate. 

“He is a selfless server. He is about service and serving the student,” Brown said. “We are senators; our jobs are to advocate and be a voice for students … and I believe that Sen. Haynes can really lead us to do that.”

Sen. Connor Pore, another newly confirmed senator, nominated new Sen. Scott Recheck, who gained popularity during the student body president and vice president elections among students on Yik Yak and fraternity life. While he is new to the Senate, Recheck said that he still hopes to “make a difference” in his community through his passion for student government.

“We could elect a speaker who will do a good job, who will maintain exactly as we are,” Recheck said. “Or we could elect someone with a passion for driving forward. And that, my fellow senators, is myself.”

The last nomination of the night was made by Sen. Evelyn Lewis, who expressed her support and confidence in Sen. Owens to guide the Senate through her years of experience in important SGA roles.

“She is very good at sharing that experience and teaching the people who she leads how to actually interact with the structure of the senate, how to … make bills, make resolutions,” Lewis said. “She’s incredibly good at leading and helping the people who don’t know how to do stuff and new senators learn how to actually function as senators.”

When it came time for debate, the candidates were asked to leave the room so senators could discuss freely. Several expressed their concerns regarding Recheck assuming the position, claiming that he wouldn’t have the necessary experience or understanding of the SGA constitution and bylaws to fulfill the role properly. 

When it came time for the first full Senate vote, Haynes and Recheck were eliminated as candidates after receiving fewer votes than Peng and Owens. The Senate entered a second round of presentations and debate, in which Owens emerged victorious with 23 votes. Peng received eight votes and newly installed Sen. Olivia Gallegos abstained.

Jia Wen Wang grins as she is approved for the treasurer position for the 67th session. Wang cited her experience in the role, as well as her dedication to Student Government, as to why she would be an ideal candidate. (Allison Campbell)

Student Body Vice President Matthew Phan swore in Owens with a pledge to uphold the student body constitution and act on behalf of the students of Wichita State.

During the same Senate meeting, 66th session Student Body Treasurer Jia Wen Wang was reappointed as the treasurer for the 67th session with support from Student Body President Kylee Hower and Sen. Peng.

Owens closed out the first meeting of the 67th session to raucous applause with several giving standing ovations.

The Senate will reconvene next week on May 1. All Student Senate meetings can be viewed on SGA’s YouTube page.

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About the Contributor
Allison Campbell
Allison Campbell, Editor in Chief
Allison Campbell is the editor in chief of The Sunflower. Campbell is a junior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.

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