The investigation committee for student body vice president Ryan Morris met Wednesday night to interview him on terms for impeachment.
Two senate committees are investigating whether Morris and student body president Omar Khan violated 11 Student Government statutes. The accusations were brought against them by former director of marketing Bishop Taylor.
Taylor, who was terminated Sept. 8, says he is seeking impeachment because he wants to ensure he was not held responsible for the actions Khan and Morris took when hiring new cabinet members. In addition, Taylor said he wanted to be sure the students were fully represented in SG.
However, Morris said he is concerned about Taylor’s motive for the impeachment charges.
“If Bishop Taylor had concerns and was looking out for the students, I have to question why he had to wait to do this until he was terminated,” Morris said. “And when he was fired, it was then that he came in and told me that he was going to take action and that he had concerns.”
Taylor was fired for committing several punctuality violations and using SG funds to reserve a room in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center.
Morris and Khan are being questioned for hiring an interim chief of staff, Nori Cruz, after being denied confirmation in the summer for the chief of staff position along with not properly advertising the openings for chief of staff. Taylor also alleges that Morris and Khan did not properly advertise for the director of executive affairs and director of student lobbying, two other mandatory positions.
Morris said he consulted with SG attorney general Jarrod Ali and the SG business office on all decisions. However, Morris said the advertisements for the cabinet positions were not immediately printed in The Oracle because they needed corrections. Morris added that Taylor was responsible for the advertisements at the time.
“There were several errors in the ads, so the ads weren’t placed and were then replaced,” Morris said.
In addition, advertisements were delayed because of a run off in the student body presidential election and the trial that was required to determine the winner.
Morris added that Ryan Caruso, senate president, and Stavros Papandreou, senate president pro tempore, indicated to him and Khan that the cabinet positions needed to be filled. However, Morris said he made it clear there was no timeline.
Morris also said he wanted to be sure the person he hired was qualified.
“I believe that we should only fill the position when the time is right and with the right people,” he said.
Morris said he thought it would be a disservice to USF students if the person was not capable of filling the position for the year.
In regards to a question posed by the committee, if Morris had any complaints of bias, Morris said he had none.
“You can suggest bias on paper, but I trust all the senators on the committee to do the job and have no doubts of the committee being biased,” he said.
However, Morris said he disagreed with a statement Taylor made that he is incompetent for the vice president position.
“For a person who worked so closely with me, I would think he would be able to come up with a list of things that show I am incompetent, but he only listed one,” he said.
SG senator being investigated
Student Government launched another investigation committee for the possible impeachment of SG senator Sandy Lagoute.
Lagoute, who holds office of interim chairwoman for the SG funding and transfers committee, was accused of violating two SG statutes that deal with ill will and making false statements to the senate during a meeting.
Ryan Caruso, senate president, said he was astonished that another investigation committee had been formed.
“This is holding us back and is yet another detour to take,” Caruso said.
Andrew Wells, SG senator for the College of Engineering, filed the grievance letter at Tuesday night’s senate meeting.
According to the letter, Cindy Bethel, a student and member of the Association for Computing Machinery, brought the charges against Lagoute. Wells stated in the letter that Bethel was denied access to Lagoute’s committee meeting regarding budget matters.
Caruso said he hopes this will be the last letter filed so the senators can get back to representing the students and pay attention to their classes.
“We now have three investigations going on, with three SG officers,” he said. “This is making us look bad and taking time away from the students and from the senators.
“We are trying to work hard for the students and we are fighting for Bright Futures again. I don’t want the students to think anything other.”
This letter comes one week after Bishop Taylor, former director of SG marketing, filed allegations against student body president Omar Khan and vice president Ryan Morris. Khan and Morris are currently being investigated on alleged violations of 11 SG statutes.
Five senators were elected Tuesday night to form the committee to investigate Lagoute and to see if the charges are valid. The committee will have 10 school days to decide whether to recommend impeachment to the senate. If there is a recommendation for impeachment, the senate will have a two-thirds vote on the two statutes. If passed, the recommendation will then go to the SG Supreme Court to decide if Lagoute should be impeached.