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Powers takes over SGA reins

9/4/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

Arin Powers announced Tuesday she will assume the role of Student Government Association president at Fort Hays State University.

Powers was elected vice president in the April election with Chris Roberts as president. But following a series of legal issues, Roberts decided to step down.

In February, Roberts was taken into custody for suspicion of domestic battery. No official charges were filed.

Roberts was arrested in April on suspicion of driving under the influence and transportation of an open container, according to the Hays Police Department.

Following the arrest, Roberts decided to take a leave of absence until the fall semester.

"After much thought, I have decided the best option to move forward for myself, SGA and the students is to remain in office," Roberts said in May. "However, I will take the necessary steps to ensure my well-being is up to par to continue as president. ... Resignation would have been a decision that is too hasty at this time."

At the final SGA meeting of the spring semester, Roberts promised to use the Kelly Center at FHSU for an evaluation to determine his next steps.

"He decided (not to return without pressure from administration)," Powers said, "so no processes were followed. Once his decision was made, there was no real need."

Roberts contacted Powers with a statement toward the beginning of the fall semester, saying he would not be returning as president.

"I understand this was a difficult decision for Chris," said President Mirta Martin. "However, leadership positions come with great responsibility. It is both an honor and privilege to serve as SGA president. I applaud Chris' decision to step down, as it will provide a clear message that actions have consequences. In the end, this decision will protect the credibility of the office and underscore the importance of our students making 'one better decision each day' in their lives."

Powers began her role as acting-president June 1.

"His decision was what he thought was the right thing for him," Powers said. "I think a lot of Chris. I know mistakes happen and people go through rough times. I was prepared to do what I needed to do to make this office stable and keep this office running no matter what role or title it came with."

During the summer, Powers said she took on the roles of president and vice president.

"With the unsureness of the situation, I was fulfilling both roles," she said. "I didn't care what the title was. I just knew what needed to be done."

SGA is accepting applications for vice president. The announcement will be made following the Sept. 12 deadline.

Grant Rahjes, an SGA senator who ran against Roberts and Powers in the April election, respects Roberts' decision to step down.

"I hope Chris finds what he needs and continues to grow as a person," Rahjes said. "I feel he made the right decision by stepping down to focus on himself. I am also slightly upset he never took office, especially since neither myself or my running mate would have had to resort to such action."

Powers will be sworn in as president at the Sept. 11 SGA meeting.

"I'm excited," Powers said. "It will be a good year -- a year of reforming and regrouping, and making sure we're going about things in the correct way."

Attempts to reach Roberts were unsuccessful.

He no longer is listed in the FHSU student directory and has had minimal contact with Powers since his final SGA meeting in May.