After nearly a month of vacancy, the student senate elected second-year finance and accounting major Youssouf Kouyo to fill the Student Association (SA) vice president (VP) of finance position. At the third meeting of the semester on Tuesday, Sept. 21 the senate decided between two of four finalists.
The position was left vacant after the unexpected departure of Yasmin El Jamal, who was elected to the position but decided to pursue a graduate program in Jordan instead of returning to the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. Vice President of Programming Anthony Lino had filled in during the interim, and after a number of interviews, four finalists were reduced to two: Kouyo and third-year geology major Rose Faber. After brief introductions at the meeting, the senate had time to question the candidates and discuss each amongst themselves.
Although the executive board decided to keep their opinions to themselves, SA President Jennifer Sanchez thought it necessary to ensure everyone vote for who they felt would be the “most friendly to students.” She said the elected student could be trained in the paperwork and finance business.
It was agreed that each candidate had equal experience, although in different areas. Faber, who described herself as very organized, is a member of the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) and did work as treasurer for Hillel, while Kouyo, vice president of the African Student Union, was a member of hall government and has academic business experience. The election ended with nine votes for Kouyo, two for Faber, two abstentions and four no confidence.
“I think that the legislative body took all aspects into consideration and made an educated decision,” Sanchez said.
Kouyo, a native of West Africa’s Ivory Coast, is confident his academic business background will help ease him into this important position on the E-board.
“I apply whatever I learn in class,” he said of having a schedule of business classes and monitoring all allocated SA funds. “I want to be useful on campus, and I felt like this is the semester when I had to start going to help people, and actually share my knowledge with everybody.”
As VP of Finance, Kouyo will also serve as chairperson of the BFC. Responsibilities of the position, as stated in the SA Constitution, include but are not limited to providing the authorized signature for SA’s financial disbursements, preparing and presenting BFC proposals to the senate, E-Board and Council of Organizations, along with providing an update on SA’s financial status at every senate and Council of Organizations meeting.
“Youssouf seems to be adapting very well, and there are no permanent setbacks or problems because the position has been vacant for a month,” said Sanchez. “If anything, things are only running smoother now because we have one more E-board member to balance all the work.”
Kouyo concurred, saying that the E-board has made everything a pleasant experience thus far.
“I’m already used to how everything is working,” Kouyo said. “I’m trying my best to be helpful, and I feel like everything is going well so far.”