Joy turned to frustration at Tuesday’s Student Government (SG) Senate meeting for the justices formerly under investigation for impeachment.
Sen. Ralph Herz, chair of the SG Senate Impeachment Committee, gave the committee’s report, which stated the decision of the committee was not to pursue articles of impeachment against any of the accused justices.
The accused justices are Chief Justice Lindsay Betros, Senior Justice Alec Waid, Ranking Justice Milton Llinas and Associate Justice Chelsea Lo.
After this announcement, Sen. Aladdin Hiba asked Herz whether the committee was confident in its decision. If so, Hiba said, he would be confident in it as well. Herz assured Hiba the decision was as stands.
Waid bumped Llinas on the shoulder. The court celebrated with wide smiles and snapping. This joy, however, would not last for long.
Later in the meeting, Senate President Pro-Tempore Danish Hasan moved to add a discussion of articles of impeachment to the agenda that had been emailed to him. The movement met an objection from Sen. Amira Hares. She didn’t understand why there was a need for discussion if the committee had already made the decision not to pursue impeachment, she said.
The Senate then held a vote as to whether the motion would go on the agenda. There were 50 senators present. With a vote of 31 to 16, with three abstentions, the Senate voted to put the discussion on the agenda.
SG Attorney General Richard LaMura then asked to see the time the email was sent to Hasan. The time on the email was 6:05 p.m., which LaMura said made the vote void, since the Senate meeting began at 6 p.m.
Essentially, that meant the agenda amendment would have to wait until the next scheduled Senate meeting, according to Senate procedure.
Waid took the floor to offer his opinion on the actions taking place in the Senate.
“I was a senator once, and I understand what’s going on in your head,” Waid said. “A lot of things (that are) going on (are) confusing. Make sure you’re listening to everything that is said. Thank you guys for all of your hard work.”
After the vote was voided and the discussion removed from the agenda, the justices left the room, visibly displeased with the series of events.
Though the impeachment committee had completed its job, Herz said he believes this fight is not over.
“As chairman of the Senate Impeachment Committee, I am surprised that articles of impeachment were presented to Senate and attempted to be added to the agenda when, during my report, I presented to the Senate that the committee had decided not (to) proceed with articles of impeachment against the four justices,” Herz said. “This seems to be a massive violation of due process for the four justices.”
Herz recalled his experience on the committee as intense. He believed the impeachment process is currently in need of significant revision. Herz agreed with the sentiment of Student Government Advising, Training and Operations (SGATO) Director Gary Manka, who told the Senate at Tuesday’s meeting that being on the impeachment committee is not an honor and is instead “hell.”
“My charge to (SG) is right now our statutes … need some work,” Manka said.
Manka would like SG to consider looking over statutes and making revisions, as the current ones, in his opinion, just don’t work.
Betros announced at the meeting she had accepted a study abroad opportunity in Italy, effective Jan. 26, and will resign because of this. She thanked SG for all of the memories.
“I’m done,” Betros said as she left the meeting.