Updated: Nov 22
Rhode Island College’s Student Community Government (SCG) held their special election for president on Wednesday. The election, which came to be after President Matthew Thureson announced he is graduating after this semester, saw Speaker James Torres win the race unopposed.
In his post-election remarks, Torres indicated one of his priorities will be to try to have the college fix unaddressed issues facing the Student Union building.
“I want to redo this building, not redo the entire building, but give it a facelift because there’s a lot of stuff, like there’s mildew in this building that hasn’t been addressed for years,” Torres said.
Torres’ term will begin on Monday, Dec. 12. In the interim, he’ll be the president-elect while Thureson finishes out his time as president.
During a post-meeting interview, Thureson said “Always asking questions, always being curious, and remembering why we’re here, which is for the students” when asked what advice he has for Torres.
Now that Torres will ascend to the role of president, there will be a special election set to elect a new speaker. One member of parliament who is going to run is current Deputy Speaker Thomas Fura.
Thureson announced during the meeting a status update on an operating agreement RIC wants SCG to sign before they unfreeze the remainder of their funding. Currently, SCG sent a draft to the college, and now they have sent their draft back to SCG, but it isn’t the final document, with Thureson saying during the meeting, “It’s going to go back and forth a few times, probably even after this one.”
As for what main terms the college wants SCG to sign off on, Thureson explained two big parts of it in a post-meeting interview.
“So right now, the stipulations have mainly been around the staffing issue,” Thureson said. “And it’s really whether the employees of SCG, which are currently independent employees of the college, they don’t fall under the college’s HR department, they’re completely separate, it’s a matter of whether those are going to be replaced and we’re going to do it the same way as we’ve always done or if they’re going to now become college employees.”
In a follow-up question about if this means the college will have hiring and firing power over SCG’s staff, Thureson emphasized SCG doesn't want to give that up, saying, “Currently, SCG is not for that. SCG wants to retain control of the staff in at least that fashion – the ability to choose who we work with and then if there’s a problem, we don’t want to work with this person anymore.”
Another big part of the operating agreement seems to be what exactly is the relationship between SCG and RIC. And Thureson said the college views the relationship as “more of an interdependent relationship.”
“There’s a lot of parts throughout the operating agreement where they seem to suggest that we should go through the college or atleast get advice from the college to make certain changes,” he added. “And SCG is just weary of kind of giving up that kind of control right now, because we are supposed to be kind of our own separate 501(c)(3) independent corporation.”
The operating agreement is just one front. Another dilemma SCG hopes to address is to change their bylaws. In order for that to happen, by Dec. 30, they need 30 members. Currently, they are at 20 members with a number of students garnering signatures at the moment.
The relevance that 30-member figure has is the college also wants SCG to change their bylaws alongside signing the aforementioned operating agreement.