Interview with Executive Vice President Spencer Demink

SGA Executive Vice President Spencer Demink

By: Daylon Bonner, Staff Writer

Friday afternoon, I was afforded the opportunity to speak with Executive Vice President Demink. We spoke for nearly an hour discussing his position, what is to come from the SGA this year, the Senate Budget and we briefly discussed the Presidential search committee. Here are some of the highlights:

Would you say that the SGA, giving the new territory of the consolidation, needs to be spearheaded by someone who will be affected by it for more than one year?

There are ups and downs to it. My resume for the position speaks for itself while my lack of experience can give me pause. [Nevertheless], it is more difficult to see a Senior in office complete their tenure and leave. Everything changes, and the new SGA needs to [adapt to accommodate] the vision of the new President. Therefore, you could argue that someone being here for a long time is beneficial. [Conversely], you could argue that a change in regime is healthy … if ideas were to get stale or my drive could leave. It is a case by case basis.

Do you see yourself as a more hands-off President regarding the Senate meetings?

No. I do not preside over the Senate meetings. I will say my report and chime in if necessary. However, it is not my place to run the Senate meetings. That position is reserved for Senator Breazeale. As an Executive, I do not want to put my influence on the Senate too much. If things get out of hand, I will chime in. Overall, it is not my place to say much in the meetings. I also have minimal influence over legislation [as that work is allocated] to the Senators and Committees.

I ask this question because your positive answer shows that you have confidence in the Senate. However, at Monday’s Senate meeting, many of the Senators openly admitted that they had not read the legislation they were voting on. Given this occurrence, do you still think the confidence you have in the Senate is well-founded?

I still think it is well-founded. This is a running theme concerning legislation that the Senate do not find to be as interesting. Now if the legislation had concerned parking or the Galley, their level of interest would increase making more likely to go over it. As much as we would like to we cannot force to Senators to be interested in all legislation. However, the expectation is that they read all legislative documents that are given to them.

I spoke with Senator Breazeale last week and he spoke of using this term to establish precedent. Does that factor into your goals for the semester?

He is right. This is our first year with the new SGA structure, and many precedents will be determined this year. As for missions and objectives, a document is pending that details them. Some of the tenants include keeping a healthy relationship with each campus. We also aim to make sure students are aware of their various resources. Student engagement is down considerably from years pasts, and we aim to increase that. One method will be the Organizational Presidents Council where we invite executives from every organization to talk about how to request funds from us and the like. I also aim to make our mission known. Many students do not know what SGA can do for them, and as student servants we want them to know that we can help them.

Would you say a significant hurdle is getting students to care?

Yes. Student apathy is a big thing. There are students that will care while others may need persuasion, and others just will not. We will shift are approach to changing the minds of students this year. In prior years we would conduct town halls. However, no one is really into them. Instead we will try to go with a more discussion-based format in which the divide between SGA and the students is not present.

What do think are feasible alteration to the Senate budget?

To clarify the budget has not been passed yet due to points brought up by Senator Selmman Padridin in the last Senate meeting. In a general sense, most of the budget is set in stone. My Vice President of Finance, Yilnette Morales, has been working since July allocating the budget to our yearly expenses. The Senate will ultimately decide what is done with the money as what we as executives put forward is more of a recommendation. There is also the chance that we come under the budget for events. When that happens, we can then start to reallocate funds to different events. As of now, what happens with the budget rests on the Senators. [Related to that], we are projected to come in under budget at the end of the year. However, if we do not spend that money it goes back into the student affairs budget. We will likely spend the surplus, but what on is unclear at this moment.

Are the lines of communication between each campus a steady stream or does it falter at times?

We try to keep communication as open as possible. However, Statesboro is over an hour away. We are all busy and must accomplish tasks. The buffer is the President Jarvis Steele though. In terms of occurrences which affect the entire university the communication is there. In terms of SGA, we are [accustom] to working within ourselves, but communicating over large distances is something we are equipped for despite the newness of the arrangement. We are not left in the dark on either side.