SGA chief of staff resigns; replacement named already

Taylor Harrison

Katie Stillwell, the Student Government Association’s chief of staff, announced her resignation at Tuesday night’s senate meeting. But SGA has found a replacement — former chief of staff Eric Smiley.

Stillwell, who officially resigned March 16, said in her announcement that she has always taken her position in SGA seriously. She resigned because her grades have been slipping and she needs to make sure she has the time to get them where they need to be.

“I graduate in May — in just a couple of months — and my grades are not terrible, but they’re on the downhill slide,” Stillwell said. “So before they got terrible, I wanted to make sure I fixed it.”

While she gave two weeks’ notice and said she would work until March 30, President Billy Stephens found a replacement quickly enough that it was not necessary for her to stay on for two more weeks.

Stephens also spoke at the SGA meeting regarding Stillwell’s resignation.

“On behalf of all the student government, Katie, thank you for all you’ve done,” Stephens said. “We appreciate it. You will be missed.”

At this time, Stillwell said she is trying to save money for her wedding in June, which makes it necessary to work more. She is also applying for jobs in the legal field before she sends out applications to law school.

“It just takes focus, and I knew that it would take focus away from SGA, and I don’t feel that it’s ethical at all to not do the work and have the position,” Stillwell said.

Stillwell said it was a hard decision to make, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to put in the 10 hours a week for her SGA position.

“It was something that I know the timing was bad for other SGA members with the upcoming election,” Stillwell said. “It’s something I’ve struggled with all semester, something I toyed with over Christmas break — thought that I could handle the 30 hours of work and the 10 hours, and I just couldn’t do that with school.”

Smiley, Stillwell’s replacement, served as SGA chief of staff two years ago.

Kendrick Bryan, executive vice president, said he has worked with Smiley before and that he is a great fit.

“He understands the inner workings of the organization,” Bryan said. “He understands org aid, he understands our budget, and he also comes up with excellent ideas…”

Particularly, Smiley was always an advocate for better student tailgating — providing food during tailgating as well as finding as many tailgating spots as possible, Bryan said.

“Eric’s a great voice for the students,” Bryan said. “Eric knows hundreds of students, and I’m glad he’s back in the organization.”

Smiley could not be reached for comment for this story.