Former Class of 2016 senator Matilda Thornton-Clark has been chosen to take over as the Student Government Association vice president of campus affairs on a permanent basis, according to a Jan. 19 SGA announcement.
The position was formerly filled by sophomore Yena Seo, who resigned Jan. 7 following a request from SGA President Dominick Recckio and the executive board. Recckio said Seo was asked to resign because the position had evolved after a re-evaluation of the SGA constitution, value sessions, shared governance initiatives and under the circumstances of recent racial events at the college. Thornton-Clark, a senior sociology major, filled the interim position.
Recckio said until there is a senate majority to approve her initial appointment as the interim replacement at the first meeting of the semester Jan. 25, the position is purely symbolic. However, he said he anticipates no obstructions. Once she receives a senate majority vote, Recckio said, the executive board will approve her as permanent.
“She is unanimously approved by the e-board to go through the process,” Recckio said.
According to the SGA constitution, the vice president of campus affairs’s duties are, among other things, to investigate student concerns other than those that are academic and to draft and review new legislation on campus issues, policies and events that affect the student body.
Thornton-Clark served as the Class of 2016 senator in the fall before being chosen for vice president of campus affairs. She had taken a semester off during her junior year to work with students at Rutgers University with Public Interest Research Group Campus Action and said she “loved the spirit of activism.”
“I worked with a nonprofit called PIRG Campus Action as a campus organizer training students on how to run political campaigns,” she said. “That really showed me how important student activism is.”
Recckio said Thornton-Clark has the experience needed for the position.
“Matilda brings really awesome experience around campus issues and campus activism,” Recckio said. “It makes a lot of sense how our campus is currently moving forward with issues to have someone who has that body of knowledge and experience and expertise to be close to the team.”
According to the post announcing the decision, Thornton-Clark will advance upcoming initiatives and events as a part of her job.
“We are excited to work with her this semester on initiatives such as combatting sexual assault and events like Elect ALANA and Elect LGBTQ+,” the post said.
The Elect ALANA and Elect LGBTQ+ are “sister programs” to the Elect Her program, which is headed by Seo, Thornton-Clark said.
The Elect Her program is a four-hour workshop teaching women how to run for elective office during college and later in life. The Elect ALANA and Elect LGBTQ+ initiatives are day- or weekend-long events celebrating the distinct communities they focus on.
“I want to make the environment a more comfortable place. … My goal and vision behind it is getting those students a chance to speak for themselves,” Thornton-Clark said. “I want to help create that climate of activism on campus and really show IC students that their voices matter and that together we can make change.”