SGA began the 2020-2021 academic year without a treasurer after the sudden resignation of Hugh Norko last week.
A MPA student who graduated last May with an B.A. in Politics, Policy, and International Affairs, Norko previously served as speaker of the senate prior to being elected last April after running unopposed.
In his resignation letter, no specific reason was cited as he implored other members to, “commit themselves to acting with decency, integrity, and the upmost respect to those working for the common good.”
By email, he informed The Sting of why he resigned.
“I absolutely loved SGA and dedicating so much to thinking of ways to improve UB but it was becoming increasingly difficult to justify spending so much energy on it with other pressing matters like employment opportunities, studying for the LSAT, and spending time with family,” said Norko. “It was really time for me to pursue better opportunities.”
He will soon be starting a new position as a legislative editor for the General Assembly in Annapolis.
Internal conflicts among the new members of the SGA, explains Norko, did however play a role especially with the newly elected president, Daniel Khoshkepazi.
“I had a considerable yet silent concern about his abrasive behavior but I did not heavily protest. I wanted to maintain a professional working relationship and be courteous to different leadership styles,” said Hugh Norko, by email to The Sting. “By my resignation, his conduct progressed into outright animosity, disregard for organizational norms and procedures, and an unwillingness to hold oneself accountable for their own actions.”
Further, he added that the organization had become a tool for the President’s “self-realization, rather than a collaborative mechanism to bring good to the student body” adding that anyone who provided criticism was subject to a torrent of manipulative and retributive attacks.
Daniel Khoshkepazi, who is pursuing a M.A. in Global Affairs and Human Security, was elected in April along with Norko.
Khoshkepazi, when asked by The Sting, replied, “The reason I know was stated in Treasurer Norko’s resignation letter that he shared with me and the executive board to announce his departure. “
“His resignation was certainly unexpected but I believe students must do what is best for them in these uncertain times,” added Khoshkepazi. “We are focusing on moving forward, we have a great senate and finance committee ready to work out the remaining tasks and energized for the year ahead. ”
He expressed that a search for a replacement began almost immediately with a candidate narrowed down after a weekend of interviews. “We have already done a search and shared posters about the recruitment for this position and soon we will be making the decision.”
Sources close to Khoshkepazi and Norko have claimed that former SGA President Yvonne Harper was the candidate referenced.
Khoshkepazi refused to comment rather stating, “I can tell you that we had qualified candidates and the best one will be picked to served in the role.”
Anthony Butler, SGA faculty advisor and director of the Center for Student Involvement, echoed Khoshkepazi.
“While it is unfortunate any time an organization member resigns, SGA has worked to fill this vacancy in accordance with its constitution. The SGA has a strong executive board and senate in place to ensure the organization functions smoothly while a replacement is appointed and trained.”
On Norko, he remarked, ” I found Hugh to be a responsible and hard-working student leader.”
Leonard Robinson is the Editor-in-Chief of The Sting