After a year of very little activity in the organization, the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association announced its new National Board today. The new leadership was elected in elections held in June of this year, a month late, since the constitution of the association requires these to be held in May of every year. With this delay, the new board’s term has begun shortened by almost a month.
The leadership will be reprise most of last year’s board, with Gustavo Bravo ending his term as President, and Sebastian Negron assuming the presidency after a non-contested race. Former treasurer Carlos Robles from Boston College will now be executive vice president, as Kevin McClintock, son of PRSSA founder and former Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock, from Georgetown University and Laira Torres from Washington St. Louis University assume their roles as associate vice president and treasurer respectively.
“I would like to thank the outgoing leadership of PRSSA for the hard-work and commitment. Moving forward, we are mainly focusing our efforts in three areas: the reorganization of the association’s main structure; incorporating the Estadistas Unidos (absentee ballot movement) franchise into our initiatives; and encouraging educational events about statehood targeted to university and high school students.”, said Negrón, who will now lead the organization from the University of Pennsylvania.
The only contested race in the elections was that of the secretary position, sought by Jesus Perez from the University of Pennsylvania and Jose Muñiz from American University. Perez prevailed, although it is unclear by what margin since in contrast to previous years, the Elections Committee, run this year by former president Josue Rivera, did not announce any percentages or numbers for the elections.
The PRSSA is a student organization incorporated and recognized by the Department of State of Puerto Rico as a nonprofit organization. The organization is dedicated to promoting statehood for Puerto Rico in universities and through forums in the continental U.S. and PR.
In recent years, the PRSSA has suffered a period of decline, with most chapters ending as inactive, and even its website, statehoodpr.org, falling into disrepair for a prolonged period, only recently being reestablished at the new domain statehoodpr.com.
In the meantime, several new organizations have been surging around the issue of the political status of Puerto Rico, such as Generacion51, lessening the PRSSA’s former clout as one of the main pro-statehood organizations.
The PRSSA had also recently announced on June 15, the reactivation of its University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus Chapter, with the appointment of Pedro Rodriguez as president by Gustavo Bravo.
This appointment however, could be contested, given that Bravo’s term ended on June 1 pursuant to the constitution.
UPDATE: The PRSSA has sent a tweet alledging that the appointment of Pedro Rodriguez was made in May and announced in June. No proof or reasoning provided for the delay.