USG senator for residence halls calls off-campus address home

Cody Francis

KIC president unhappy with choice, though Derkin meets criteria

The Kent Interhall Council is worried about the qualifications of the Undergraduate Student Government senator for residence halls.

The senator, Joe Derkin, junior political science major, does not meet the criteria, according to KIC President Avery Danage, who has called this to attention of USG executive director Jonathan Bey. Danage said KIC is worried about Derkin’s ability to fairly represent the students.

According to Article VI, Letter K of the USG bylaws, the senator for the residence halls “shall reside on-campus one semester prior to and while they serve as senator.”

Danage said it’s “almost a joke” that Derkin holds the office and does not live on campus.

“He’s representing a community that he doesn’t even live in,” Danage said. “It’s like having the governor of Alaska say she lived in Ohio for two years, so she’s qualified to be governor of Ohio.”

Derkin said Danage knew at the time of his appointment that he would not be living on campus during his tenure as senator.

“If KIC had a problem with my appointment, they should have had someone from their organization run for the position,” Derkin said.

Bey said he is standing behind his decision. He said the bylaws are used as guidelines and the membership section of the USG charter states they may “delegate authority and responsibility as deemed necessary.”

“I knew that it was within my authority to make these appointments and carry them out,” Bey said. “I believe Joe is doing a great job and I stand by him.”

While Derkin does not currently live on campus, he was a resident of Wright Hall his first two years at Kent State. At the application deadline last semester, Bey said Derkin was the only applicant for the residence halls position.

“There were no other qualified candidates that applied, so we picked the best one available,” Bey said.

Derkin said he feels more than qualified to hold his office.

“I have actually lived in dorms since I was a freshman,” he said. “I know what it’s like, the ins and outs of dorm life. I attended the KIC meetings last year, so I have a feel for that as well.”

In a meeting Monday afternoon, Bey said he gave Danage the ways to remove someone from a USG position. The options are resignation, suggested impeachment by another USG member or a petition signed by 8 percent of the student body to bring about an impeachment vote.

Danage said he wants to try to work with Derkin rather than work to get rid of him. He said it is not his decision, as he is only a representative of what the students want.

“Decisions on removal will not be made unless general council decides they want him to be removed,” he said. “If they don’t want him to be removed, then we are more than willing to work with him.”

Derkin’s attitude toward the situation reflects that of Danage’s.

“I’m trying to work with KIC because it is in the benefit for the student body for KIC and USG to work together,” he said.

Danage plans to introduce Derkin to the general council at today’s KIC meeting. He said he will have each member of the council write two things they would like to see happen with residence halls over the course of the semester. He plans to give these suggestions to Derkin.

“I’m going to introduce him (tonight), and let him know what his duties are and why he’s there,” Danage said. “These comments will give him a good idea of what the students expect him to do.”

Contact room and board reporter Cody Francis at [email protected].