Ninety students voted in the Student Government Association's special election on Wednesday on a constitutional amendment to add a succession process for vacant seats on the Student Assembly.

Of the 90 — which is less than .3 percent of WVU's student enrollment — 89 approved the amendment, will only one student dissented, according to election results given at Wednesday's SGA meeting.

With the approved amendment, SGA will begin working as soon as possible to fill the vacant senate seats, and after the College Representative election in October, will hopefully be working with a full legislative body, according to SGA Chief of Staff Adila Fathallah.

While turnout for this special election was higher than the organization's last special election in Spring 2016, Fathallah and Abbi Yachini, SGA's interim elections chair, acknowledged that turnout numbers still weren't great. 

This amendment, however, is one of many steps they are taking to hopefully up participation in SGA elections and the organization of a whole.

"We wish more people came out, obviously," Fathallah said, "but getting there starts with this (amendment) getting passed."

Members of the organization relied heavily on social media to get word out about the election in the days leading up, Yachini said, starting with a public notice posted Monday and a constant stream of tweets and posts on the official account and on individuals' accounts until Wednesday.

The amendment was meant to address an "emergency situation" regarding empty seats in the organization, of which there are currently 15. 

With its passage, the amendment will ensure SGA is able to fill empty seats when there is no next-highest vote getter present to take the position, which is what the constitution currently directs for vacated seats on the student assembly.

The amendment calls for vacancies to be filled by a presidential appointment from students recommended  by the Select Committee on Legislative Vacancies and Appointments, according to the resolution.

The committee will consist of five members: the student body vice president, two members of the student assembly and two SGA executives appointed by the president.

When a vacancy arises, the committee will have 24 hours after it is formed to send out a public notice to the student body, outlining the application and appointment process. Students will have four days after the public notice to apply for the open positions, and the committee will have four days after applications are received to interview candidates.

After the interview process, the student body president will have 24 hours to either approve or deny the committee’s recommendation, and make the appointment, which must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the Student Assembly at the next SGA meeting.

If a full roster of candidates comes out in October's College Representative election — 18 total are needed, two from each of WVU's colleges — SGA could be working with a full legislative body for the first time since last Fall, when the student assembly was formed. 

"It's relieving and exciting to know that," Fathallah said. "Hopefully that will lead to us getting more people involved."

Also Wednesday:

  • The Student Assembly unanimously approved a resolution in support of showing solidarity to individuals affected by the potential rescission of President Barack Obama's executive order, "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals."
  • The Student Assembly unanimously approved a resolution in support of WVU's Title IX policies in response to national rhetoric that proposes rescinding some of these standards.