USG passes “line of succession” amendment, confirms Lauer as VP

The amendment creates a concrete plan to fill future vacancies and looks to avoid the uncertainty that came following the resignation of Vice President José Muñiz Jr. in September.


Ryan Hansen, News Reporter

The University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Student Government will now have a more concrete presidential line of succession thanks to a constitutional amendment passed on Tuesday evening.

As a result of the amendment, USG Senators voted to confirm Jack Lauer as the permanent Vice President after President Regan Smock announced she had chosen them to fill the vacated position in October

“After working closely with them last year, I know that they’re going to serve really well in this role,” Stucky said. “We already have seen how successful they’ve been as the interim VP.”

Lauer said in an interview with the The Daily Iowan the changes to the constitutional amendment are useful because it creates more transparency between internal affairs and the student government. 

They said anything that creates a balance between Senate, the Internal Affairs Committee, president, and vice president.

“I think any measure that we can implement to ensure that Senate has a clear voice on any matter relating to the mechanics of student government is a win-win,” Lauer said. 

They described the tone of the entire student government as uncertain following the resignation of former Vice President José Muñiz Jr in September.

“Folks just didn’t know what was going to happen because it wasn’t clearly outlined in our constitution or bylaws,” Lauer said. “We all did not know what was going to happen next.”

Lauer said USG wanted to make the most of an opportunity like this.

“That [fear] of the unknown then turned into an opportunity for us to ensure that this doesn’t happen again and that we have clear outlines,” Lauer said. “It added further accountability to the process and it helped having really passionate individuals from the Internal Affairs Committee.”

The Senate also elected Yardley Whaylen to the position of Speaker of the Senate, Lauer’s previous position. She previously held the position on an interim basis.

The new constitutional amendment, titled “President and Vice President Succession Plan,” passed unanimously and provides a constitutionally-backed plan in the event of resignations or disqualifications of a high-ranking member in a legislative or executive position.

Sens. Benton Renaud and Jaden Bartlett drafted the amendment, which codified the interim system. In an amendment to the amendment, Bartlett proposed allowing a senator’s input before the Internal Affairs Committee sets the deadline. Ultimately, internal affairs has the final say in the matter.

“[Internal affairs] would vote on how much time would be allotted for the nomination, essentially,” Bartlett said. “Your thoughts and voices would be taken into consideration before we made that vote.”

Some senators voiced concerns that the internal affairs committee is not bound to listen to the recommendations of the Senate. Bartlett clarified the role of the Senate in this newly established process.

“The entire Senate would become an advisory panel to the internal affairs committee,” Bartlett said. “After everyone had their opportunity to ask questions, the internal affairs committee would still make the binding decisions on that.”

Renaud explained the decision to utilize the interim system, which the Internal Affairs Committee recommended using after Muniz Jr. resigned.

“Our internal affairs committee believes that the interim system has worked and did work in this situation,” Renaud said. “We thought we would just codify things and make sure our language is unambiguous and not up for interpretation.”

Sen. Sam Stucky voiced her support for the amendment and the changes approved by the Senate tonight.

“I think that what it’s doing is just creating a plan that we’ve already implemented and seen [be] successful,” Stucky said. “At the end of the day, with the opportunity for the Senate to give at least some kind of advice and counsel, I know we can trust the internal affairs committee.”