During her two-month tenure as Student Government (SG) Senate President, Suzane Nazir was able to organize trainings and retreats for senators, a Senate special election, set up partnerships with Career Services among other initiatives.
However, these accomplishments were inadequate in securing her position as Senate chair. Nazir was terminated effective July 23 for her “unorganized” leadership style.
Sen. Noor Kantar and Sen. Nawal Yousef requested a Vote of Confidence (VOC) against Nazir because they did not feel like she carried out her role effectively.
SG statute 4.1.1 states that the purpose of a VOC is to “determine whether the Senate has confidence in a Senator’s ability to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of an elected position.”
The last VOC to pass the Senate was four years ago, in which the finance chair was removed for working remotely, two hours away, and repeatedly making errors in student organization budgets, according to Nazir.
The senator was removed a few weeks into the fall semester, whereas Nazir was terminated from her position for nearly a month before the semester began.
Nazir admitted that she was taken aback when she was notified of the VOC.
“I was surprised when I found out a VOC had been submitted against me, but more than that I was disappointed,” Nazir said in an email to The Oracle. “Some people in SG disliked when I would focus on holding myself and others accountable.”
After a VOC request is submitted to the Pro Tempore, the item has to be added to the Senate agenda for the next meeting. The person who called for the VOC is now considered ‘the sponsor.’
The sponsor, Yousef, and the subject of the VOC, Nazir, presented a five-minute opening statement, had a question-and-answer period with the Senate and a debate between one another.
The Senate entered a discussion period that followed a voting procedure in which 16 people decided Nazir was unfit as Senate President and six people believed she should have stayed.
Yousef said she felt suitable to be the sponsor for the VOC because she was an unbiased senator since none of the issues directly related to her.
Some of the issues Yousef said she noticed include Nazir being biased toward new senators, making “on-the-spot” rules and rarely being in the office.
In one specific situation, Kantar said Nazir said during a Senate meeting that cell phones were not allowed even though they were allowed to be used in the 59th term. Nazir then “singled-out” someone in front of the Senate even though they were using their phone for business items and emails, according to Kantar.
Yousef’s presentation during her open statement stated that Nazir violated the statute 201.2 “Be independent and impartial in all their SG-related decisions” and statute 201.2.6 “Uphold the truth in an accurate manner.”
Nazir defended herself by saying that Senators were treating her unfairly and “did not respect her.” Also, she said her absence was because she was in the hospital.
However, after speaking with The Oracle, Nazir said she was removed from her position based on mistakes.
“I have no doubt that those reasons were used as an excuse for removing me, rather than as actual reasons justifying my termination,” Nazir said.
Looking back, Yousef said she was frustrated with Nazir’s answers during the debate because of “her use of words.”
“I was more frustrated with some of the things she said such as being victimized, harassed and that I had a personal vendetta against her,” Yousef said. “She was using words that were too heavy and they were just excuses to find a way out.”
During the VOC, Nazir said multiple times that senators did not respect her and people would talk negatively about her in the office when she wasn’t present. In an interview with The Oracle, Nazir said negative comments took away from her experience and that she has spent the last “two years struggling and growing in SG.”
“I didn’t want to let down the people who believed in me and in what I could do,” Nazir said. “I didn’t want to spend all my time focused on never-ending internal drama, largely perpetrated by the same few people; It just wasn’t a priority.”
Yousef said she initially did not want to present to the Senate, but she felt it was for the best interest of the group. She said this was especially because other people in Senate were also having issues.
“Being a new senator, it was out of my comfort zone but I felt like I had to stand up for what I believed in,” Yousef said. “There were facts and evidence to support in everything I said.”
Similarly, Kantar said she did not feel right staying quiet about how she felt.
“I never had the intention to come for her personality or personal life,” Kantar said. “I had to say something because I was no better than someone who was choosing to keep quiet.”
Even though Nazir was only able to serve as Senate President for two months, she said she is making her short journey a learning experience.
“At the end of the day I am happy with the choices I made as a person, because I know I did so with good intent, strong ethics and in the best interest of Senate and the Student Body,” Nazir said. “I wouldn’t have changed much because it would’ve been changing my values for the sole basis of appeasing people whose purpose was to remove me, and that wasn’t my priority as Senate President.
“I’m grateful for the good and the very bad, because I’ve learned key aspects about myself and people that I don’t think I would have learned elsewhere.”