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Turning Over the Gavel: Machalow to be Executive Vice President

Photo Credit: Frank Posillico

From 12:01 to 12:02 a.m. on March 8, there will be no Executive Vice President, or EVP, for the Undergraduate Student Government.

But as soon as the clock strikes the second minute past midnight, Deborah Machalow, the president pro-tempore of the USG Senate, will become the EVP, relieving Alex Dimitriyadi, the current EVP, of his duties.

After a startling resignation from Dimitriyadi, USG President Matthew Graham had to select a new person to take on the role.

On Wednesday, Machalow went before the vetting committee and by Thursday, a decision was made with a vote of 16-0-1.

“As sad as I am to resign my position as President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, I’m really quite excited about this opportunity to serve the entire undergraduate student body,” Machalow said. “I truly have enjoyed my year and a half in the Senate, and will dreadfully miss working directly with my colleagues on the various committees I had the pleasure of serving on.”

Machalow hopes the transition process will be as unobtrusive as possible.

Many, including Graham and Vice President of Communications David Mazza, have said that the next EVP will have big shoes to fill. Machalow hopes she won’t disappoint anyone.
“She’s been in USG for a really long time,” Graham said. “She has so much experience. It’s hard to throw someone into an executive position who hasn’t had any experience before.”

She has made resolutions regarding academic policies, such as Southampton, and was a part of the Save Dave Campaign. She also had her Ad Hoc Committee examine tuition changes, which was very important to her, despite opposition to get the changes passed.

“It is really important for USG to take a stance regarding academic policies because we do represent the students, and if there’s an issue that’s important to them, it should be important to USG officials,” she said.

Her experience will help her ease into her new role as EVP.

“I think she’s going to do very well,” Dimitriyadi said. “She’s the most obvious choice we have.”
She and Dimitriyadi, who haven’t seen eye-to-eye on many things in the past, both have different qualities for the EVP position.

“I think it’s hard to say [what the differences will be],” Dimitriyadi said. “I know we had our disagreements with some policies but that’s when she was senator and I was EVP. Now she may see things a bit differently. I’m curious to see how she reacts.”

According to Dimitriyadi, it’ll be like putting someone in another person’s shoes.

“I think now that she’ll be in my former role, she’ll see things in a bit of a different way and she may reconsider some of the changes,” Dimitriyadi said.
One of the changes she planned on implementing was getting rid of the assigned seating at the Thursday night Senate meetings.

“I’m going to update the webpage and make our minutes, reports and legislation more accessible to our constituents,” Machalow said. “I have some legislative goals as well, but those are less EVP work than personal goals.”

The Checks and Balances Act that was approved last year was accidentally left out of the Code when it was updated, therefore the vetting process Machalow went through was technically unnecessary, she said. But while it was more for show than anything else, it still made her a little nervous.

“I work in that office every single day, and yet I wasn’t quite there,” she said. “I work with my colleagues every day and yet, I wasn’t there to work with them, so it was strange.”
She was vetted by Spenser Cushing, Najee Simmons and Sam Cushner.

This Thursday, as they and other senators sit at the table, perhaps not in alphabetical order, she will be chairing the meeting as EVP. At last week’s meeting, Dimitriyadi publicly turned over his gavel to her.

“I really appreciated that and his statement of faith in me,” she said. She hopes to use the gavel from last year when John Kriscenski was EVP. “He was my mentor once I was elected to USG, so it, as has been pointed out to me, would be more fitting.”

Though she may have big shoes to fill, she has support from a number of people in the senate and executive council.

“She hasn’t just been a deadbeat senator collecting the paychecks,” Graham said. “She’s had a lot of different experiences. She’s very active and very dedicated.”

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