Committees begin investigation process
A Student Government investigation committee for student body president Omar Khan and vice president Ryan Morris met Sunday to discuss the leaders’ possible impeachment.
Khan and Morris are being investigated for a breach of 11 SG statutes that former director of marketing, Bishop Taylor, said they violated.
Taylor said he arranged the investigation for impeachment, to ensure that he is not held responsible for the actions that he said Khan had taken when filling cabinet positions.
“I don’t want to be held liable for anything,” Taylor said. “I felt because I was no longer under the umbrella of SG that I would bring this up and even if I were not terminated I would have done so. Regardless, I am not going to get my job back.”
Taylor was fired from SG on Sept. 8 after two warnings for punctuality and for using SG funds to reserve a room in the Marshall Center for an event not related to SG, he said. Taylor added that the reservation was cancelled after Morris found out and SG was never charged.
Taylor said he was responsible for advertising all events and positions for the organization while working for SG.
At the start of the meeting, Gregory Hyden, SG senator and chairman of the Khan committee, informed the four other committee members that they shall remain unbiased and that the interviews will serve as information needed for a statement to the senate.
“We are going to find out the background of the people, but that is not the goal,” Hyden said. “We want to find out if the accusations against Omar are true.”
The committee for Khan interviewed Taylor on Sunday seeking answers regarding how Khan violated each of the 11 statutes, which are cited in Taylor’s letter to the senate.
The alleged violations are cited in statutes that state there should be no violation in oath of office and no participation in an activity of wrongful intent for the purpose of receiving compensation (102.1 and 204.2 (C &D)).
Taylor said Khan also violated 204.2 (C) by not properly establishing a cabinet in a timely manner.
During the interview and in his letter to the senate, Taylor said Khan refrained from hiring anyone for the position of chief of staff in the cabinet, which is mandated by SG statutes. Taylor added that there were no advertisements for open cabinet member positions when the positions first became available.
Taylor said instead of advertising the open chief of staff position, Khan and Morris appointed Nori Cruz interim chief of staff after she had been denied confirmation of the position and neglected the fact that a chief of staff was a statutory mandated position that must be filled at all times.
Taylor also alleged that Khan had a plan about the chief of staff position and therefore did not advertise. Taylor said Khan was going to consider Cruz again for confirmation in the fall and, if that failed, current director of executive affairs, Michael Capobianco, would be chief of staff.
“The intent was there and it was discussed among cabinet members,” Taylor said.
In addition, Taylor said he was later asked to advertise for the openings of chief of staff, director of executive affairs and director of student lobbying and advancement.
“Director of executive affairs was already filled by Michael Capobianco and he had not resigned yet to become chief of staff,” he said. “I informed them that I did not think it would be right to advertise for those positions.”
Advertisements then began to run for the positions, Taylor said, which was during the first week of school.
Statute 204.2 (D), Taylor said, defines that Khan participated in a malicious act for going against the statutes for filling the required cabinet positions.
“There was a span of months without a chief of staff,” Taylor said. “The new chief of staff (Capobianco) was just confirmed Sept. 16 and the fall semester is half done now.”
Statute 209.2 (A & D) states that there should be no wrongdoing within the established authority and no ill will to other students.
Taylor added that Khan violated statute 209.2 because he falsely advertised positions that were not open to the student body and are incompetent and unable to fulfill the duties of their offices.
“Omar has too much relationship with the students and not enough (time) with business,” Taylor said. “He allowed things to slip through the cracks.”
Taylor added that while attending USF for the past three years he has only known three student body presidents: Khan, Mike Griffin and Tyvi Small. He said Griffin had an open-door policy but knew when to take care of business.
Statute 301.8 states that the executive branch will meet once a week during the fall and spring semesters and biweekly during the summer.
Taylor said there were biweekly meetings throughout the summer, but there was one week when a meeting did not take place during the first week of school due to the Round-Up events.
The final statutes, 301.13 and 302.1.2, state that students should have the opportunity to be involved in SG and lists the mandatory cabinet positions the executive branch must have. Taylor said that by falsely advertising positions, it didn’t allow students, who were interested, to apply for those positions.
“Once Cruz was denied as chief of staff, we should have began to advertise …,” he said.
Taylor added that there should be a time frame mandated in statutes when the president and vice president should have all the cabinet positions filled. Currently, the statutes do not have a time frame.
Morris, who attended the committee meeting, said Taylor was not telling the truth during his interview.
“What you heard today is not true,” Morris said after the meeting.
However, committee members told Morris that they are trying to figure out the truth.
The Khan committee held a meeting Friday interpreting each statute and what each of them mean for the investigation process. The Khan committee had previously interviewed SG officials in the business office regarding Taylor’s actions while in SG.
Danielle Higginbotham, chairwoman of the Morris investigation committee, said the committee is still deliberating over the interviewing process and will ask questions later in the week. Higginbotham added that the committee has previewed all 11 statutes cited and has gone over its interpretations.
“I’d rather have the committee be aware of what is going on and be thorough then to rush,” she said.
Higginbotham’s committee is about one step behind Hyden’s committee, because of time conflicts.
Higginbotham will eventually interview Taylor again, this time on how the statutes cited were violated by Morris.
According to SG statutes, the two committees have 10 school days to interview and investigate the accused and then make a report to the senate on its findings.
“I hope that this is over with soon so we can get back to the students on campus,” Higginbotham said.