For many students and faculty, it’s been hard to ignore the removal of the student body president from office through an impeachment trial on Monday night. The communication surrounding this occurrence has prompted many questions, comments and rumors.
Student Senate announced the results of the impeachment on its Instagram account late Monday night, and several people commented in confusion, as the student body was not made aware of the impeachment prior to the trial or of the charges that led to this decision.
Responding to the frustration, Student Senate repeatedly cited its constitution and bylaws as the reason for not disclosing the charges and invited students to voice their concerns at its next General Assembly meeting at 5 p.m. on Nov. 15 in the Garrett Center.
Even though Student Senate wouldn’t share information regarding the impeachment due to its constitution and bylaws, many rules listed in these documents are left for interpretation. Confidentiality is mentioned only once in the bylaws regarding impeachment: “The Department of Internal Affairs will conduct a comprehensive and confidential investigation into the submitted charges in order to determine if sufficient evidence exists to bring formal charges of impeachment.”
At this point, internal affairs has conducted the confidential investigation, and there is nothing that states charges must be kept private after the results are announced to the public.
The charges were announced during executive session, which is closed to members of the public and media; however, the documents do not explicitly express that discussions of what occurred within executive session can’t be made public afterwards.
Additionally, the constitution states that one of the responsibilities of the director of administration is “to make public the official actions of the Student Senate and other information deemed appropriate.”
Considering many people are asking for information regarding the impeachment to be made public, it is time to take a closer look at what is appropriate to share.
The student body president position is the most high-profile position within Student Senate. This is especially true of Erin Bousek, who used her social media platforms to heighten awareness of her campaign, and eventually her position as president.
The student population elected Bousek, and at a re-vote to break a tie, so that same population deserves to know each of the charges brought forth against her and what led to her impeachment and removal.
If the constitution and bylaws truly prevent the senate from being transparent, then it’s time to reexamine those bylaws. While an investigation needs to be kept confidential, the reasons behind the impeachment of an elected official does not.
Even articles of impeachment against United States presidents are not kept under wraps. While the position pales in comparison, why should the charges against a student body president be kept quiet?
Student Senate’s job is to represent the best interests of the student body. Being transparent and releasing the details behind the removal of the student body president is in the best interest of the student body.
The Scout implores Student Senate to release details behind the impeachment to the fullest extent possible.