Following hours of deliberation, the Student Government Supreme Court denied a request from SG senator Jason Cardillo and junior Brittany Link for the Court to hold a trial of impeachment for Election Rules Commission Director Andrew Kirkland.
The two claim that Kirkland has not been doing his job properly in governing this year’s student body elections.
“I don’t feel he has handled this election in an appropriate way, and that’s grounds for impeachment,” Cardillo said.
The Court was only deciding whether to hold a trial of impeachment and did not make any ruling regarding Kirkland’s handling of this year’s election.
Deciding whether to impeach any member of SG is traditionally a job of the senate. The Court ordinarily tries an impeachment case only after the senate has approved it.
Link said she plans to try to bring the issue to the senate now that the Court has decided not to hear the case without it first going through the senate.
Link and Cardillo said they went straight to the Court because they thought the senate would not be able to remain objective during the impeachment proceedings for a host of reasons. They submitted a three-page memo to the Court outlining their reasons for bypassing the senate.
The Court refused to release a copy of the memo to people other than Link, Cardillo and justices.
Link told the members of the Court that, in her opinion, grievances against student body presidential candidate Frank Harrison were not handled appropriately by the ERC.
Since the Court was only deciding whether to hold a trial of impeachment on Kirkland, it is important to note that there was no evidence presented of wrongdoing regarding grievances against Harrison. The evidence presented to the Court was only in regard to the ability of the senate to remain objective.
Link added that while grievances against any and all tickets may have been handled inappropriately, she only has what she considers “proof” of the mishandling of grievances against Harrison.
Link and Cardillo cited several reasons for believing the senate would not be able to remain objective in an impeachment, one of which was senate president Harrison running for student body president and his vice presidential candidate Faran Abbasi being a senator.
As senate president, Harrison is responsible for forming an impartial committee of senators to investigate any motion for impeachment.
They also cited that 10 senators are officially members of campaign staff for the Harrison/Abbasi ticket.
Cardillo said he also wanted to bring to light other “fishy” issues plaguing this election and SG operations in general.
The ERC has also been accused of not treating all of the candidates fairly by sharing information with some tickets and not others.
Senators expressed concerns regarding the possible impeachment of Kirkland. They said that his impeachment could lead to election results being contested, which would be unfair to the students and might cause a blow to SG’s credibilty.
There were additional issues regarding how the Court made Monday night’s decision.
SG Graduate Adviser Jennifer Gallagher remained with the Court during its deliberation, which several senators called into question while awaiting a decision. Generally, justices are prohibited from discussing cases with anyone at all during deliberation.
Harrison could not be reached for comment late Monday night.
Abbasi declined to comment because he had not been informed of the specifics regarding the Court’s meeting with Link and Cardillo prior to being contacted.
Kirkland was also unable to be reached for comment.