USUAA president resigns, new vice president appointed

USUAA president Alec Burris resigned from his position and a new administration was appointed May 16.

On May 9, Burris announced his resignation to the student government’s assembly. According to the USUAA constitution and bylaws, the vice president assumes the vacant presidential position and seeks a student to fill the vice president seat.

Geser Bat-Erdene, now president, conducted an informal process in which assembly members who were interested in the position submitted applications and essays. A week after Burris’s resignation, USUAA held their first meeting for the summer semester and confirmed Clare Baldwin as the new vice president.

Geser Bat-Erdene and Clare Baldwin

“I’m very excited. It was a surprise, but I had already been thinking about my future in the organization and threw my name in the hat,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin joined USUAA in November as a senator. She is an economics major, minoring in mathematics and political science. There is no requirement for how long a student must serve in the assembly before assuming an executive position.

Kim Morton, USUAA advisor, said that it made more sense to have assembly members apply and be selected for vice president.

“The selection should really come from the assembly members because the vice president position is normally selected by the student body,” Morton said. “The assembly members have also all been selected by the student body to represent them, either in a senator or delegate role.”

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Becoming student body president is an honor for Bat-Erdene and he seeks to continue USUAA’s mission and representation of the university.

“I think a lot of work will be focused on being a spokesperson and letting people know what the assembly is doing,” Bat-Erdene said.

Bat-Erdene was a senator before becoming vice president, and he looks forward to serving in his new role.

“I was always fascinated by the concept of self-governance and what the educational system in the United States offers. I started with the passion of just learning and serving as senator, and coming into the position as president is an extreme honor and huge responsibility that I have,” Bat-Erdene said.

Baldwin hopes to start transitioning into her role as vice president this summer with new assembly member projects, meeting the university’s administration and preparing for the fall semester.

“I do have a bit of learning to do, but for the summer, I’m actually going to set up a committee. We’re going to go through our constitution and bylaws, just go through the whole thing, clean it up,” Baldwin said.

“Summer offers us a lot of time to focus on things we wouldn’t be able to during the school year,” she added.

Bat-Erdene also said that USUAA plans on continuing advocacy for important subjects like the University of Alaska’s operating budget, as well as maintaining transparency.

“The main goal of all this is to have that transparency with the student body and I think we were able to learn and improve a lot of things in the past year,” he said. “That will be continued throughout next year.”

Bat-Erdene and Baldwin’s roles are effective immediately and run until next May, when elections are held in April.

“I think that they are both highly qualified to serve the president and vice president role and I’m excited to see where they continue to take USUAA in the upcoming year,” Morton said.