By Justin Wier
Jacob Schriner-Briggs resigned as executive vice president of the Student Government Association following a spirited meeting on Monday. His resignation will take effect Jan. 1.
The meeting was called after Schriner-Briggs assumed the presidency of Sigma Tau Gamma on Nov. 29. An adviser notified Schriner-Briggs that SGA’s constitution forbids the president and executive vice president from serving as officers for registered student organizations.
Megan Evans, chair of academic affairs for SGA, proposed a resolution — discussed at Monday’s meeting — that would have exempted Schriner-Briggs from the provision.
Several representatives voiced concerns that granting the exemption would lead SGA down a slippery slope.
“The precedent that could be set down the road could be tragic,” said representative Bryce Miner.
Questions were raised by representatives about whether SGA has the power to supersede the constitution via resolution, as amending the constitution would require a vote by the entire student body.
Schriner-Briggs said he understood that he made a mistake, but he felt the need to hear from the body before making a decision.
“I thought it would be a disservice to [SGA and Sigma Tau Gamma] to just walk away,” Schriner-Briggs said.
Tyler Miller-Gordon, secretary of technology for SGA, brought a new resolution to the floor that would have suspended the provision in the constitution until the body had time to evaluate whether it should remain. It raised similar concerns among the representatives.
It was during discussion of Miller-Gordon’s resolution that Schriner-Briggs announced his intent to resign.
“I don’t want to be divisive, and this has been a divisive issue,” he said. “I will be resigning from my spot immediately following this meeting.”
He said he felt remaining in office would do a disservice to SGA given the discord the issue had created in the body.
“I think there’s a difference between being divisive if you’re on two sides of an argument, and your very position — the office that you hold — being a point of division,” Schriner-Briggs said.
Schriner-Briggs said many of the arguments made on Monday occurred to him prior to the meeting.
“I think honestly in my heart going into the meeting I felt similar sentiments to the people who voiced their concerns about setting precedent that would allow SGA to internally circumvent or suspend provisions of its constitution,” Schriner-Briggs said. “So when I saw so many people echo those sentiments … it just confirmed to me that the best move for SGA was for me to step aside.”
SGA President Ashley Orr said it’s been an honor to serve with Schriner-Briggs.
“I really respect Jacob’s decision, and I’m just so appreciative for the last several months of serving the student body with him,” Orr said.
She said she appreciated the body for coming together during finals week and holding a discussion that wasn’t personal.
“I would never want any discussion that Student Government has to be a personal discussion, but rather to be a level above that,” Orr said. “I was really appreciative and proud of the body for that.”
Moving forward, Orr will spend the next few weeks identifying candidates for executive vice president — while ensuring that they meet the requirements and have the time necessary to devote to the office — arriving at a decision around Jan. 1.
Because the first full-body meeting of SGA doesn’t occur until Jan. 25, Orr intends either to conduct a digital poll to reach the two-thirds approval from the body necessary to confirm the nomination over break or to call a full-body meeting during the committee meetings scheduled for Jan. 11.
“I think it will be a very smooth transition,” Orr said. “We will work really hard to make sure that spring semester is just as productive as fall.”
Schriner-Briggs sent out a formal resignation letter Monday night.
“I leave SGA proud of its past accomplishments and excited for what its future has in store. I leave with a heavy heart, but with a head held high. I leave with the hope that I impacted for the better those with whom I served to even a fraction of the extent that they impacted me,” the letter concluded.