After accusing the Student Government (SG) senate of planning an illegal election, former student body presidential candidate Christopher Leddy called for the impeachment of SG Attorney General Cordell Chavis at Tuesday’s senate meeting.
Leddy said that an upcoming Oct. 13 interim election to fill 16 vacant senate positions is unconstitutional, because it’s overseen by SG senate President Jennifer Belmont instead of the Election Rules Commission (ERC).
Interim elections, according to SG statutes, are held monthly after the general election to fill any open senate seats.
An SG statute defines the ERC as an official entity of SG created to “oversee the execution and logistics of all SG elections.”
At a recent senate meeting, SG senator Ricky Shockley asked about the legality of the interim election. Chavis said the SG statutes don’t apply to interim elections.
“It is my right to interpret the statutes,” Chavis said. “If (Leddy) disagrees with the interpretation, he can take it to the court and motion for it to be struck down from the statutes. But if he disagrees with that, I don’t think that’s grounds for impeachment.”
Chavis said the senate president and senate president pro tempore have overseen interim elections in the past.
“It’s not like I wrote that legal opinion to do something egregiously corrupt,” he said. “It was to elect senators.”
Chavis said that the interim election will occur through a voting system.
“There’s no way that a student could tamper with the results at all,” he said. “There’s no way that it could be corrupted by the office of the senate president.”
Belmont said she was upset about the way Leddy presented his accusations. She said he did not inform the Senate Executive Committee, SG President Juan Soltero or Chavis of his concerns.
“I took all the steps necessary to do this (election) and feel that it was done in the correct way,” Belmont said. “It is my personal opinion … that we did not break any rules since they are not outlined (in the statutes).”
According to SG statutes, if any student or SG entity wishes to bring up an impeachment investigation, they have to “submit a memo detailing the alleged offenses to the senate president pro tempore.”
The senate president pro tempore will then add the creation of a Senate Impeachment Committee to the agenda for the next regular or special senate meeting.
“(Leddy) hasn’t brought forth any charges yet,” Chavis said. “He hasn’t brought forth the memo of impeachment.”
However, Shockley said Leddy submitted an article of impeachment to senate President Pro Tempore Matt Diaz.
“I was basically accusing him of being incompetent,” Leddy said. “Not only is he a public official – he is a public official that gets paid. He should be held to a higher standard.”
Leddy left the senate chambers with Shockley after speaking, even though senate was still in session. Shockley resigned from his senate seat in an e-mail to Belmont later that night, he said.
“I just realized that I wasn’t going to change these people’s minds and that’s what I thought I could do being in senate, change people’s minds,” Shockley said. “And I just didn’t feel like that was being accomplished.”
At the meeting, questions were raised by senators about the small amount of advertisement being used on the interim election.
Belmont said she told the SG associate director of marketing to advertise the interim election with funds from the marketing budget for flyers, chalking and advertisements.
Diaz said “sufficient time” has been given to make students aware of the interim election.
“We are definitely taking as many steps as possible to get this (election) out to students and give them enough time, so they can find the applications and get them in,” Diaz said.
Leddy said he will not run in the interim election if the senate president oversees it.
“If it’s governed by the ERC … I will definitely run,” Leddy said. “I feel that’s the only way it’s legitimate.”