Claims of ethical violations, beginnings of investigations into Student Government officials and the possibility of future trials of impeachment dominated Tuesday night’s SG senate meeting.
Former SG Attorney General Daniel Miller brought several allegations of ethical violations against student body President Maxon Victor, student body Vice President-elect senator Faran Abbasi and senator Umer Ahmed before the senate last night.
Three senators were chosen to investigate Miller’s claims, one for each individual. Each senator is responsible for determining the validity of the allegations lodged against the official he or she is assigned and to decide whether to ask the senate to form an investigatory impeachment committee in regard to any of the officials under investigation.
Senator Randy Holm will be responsible for looking into accusations that Victor has improperly used his position as student body president to promote his R&B act, Classified.
Miller noted that Classified is performing at tonight’s Less Than Jake concert on campus, which is being co-sponsored with approximately $24,500 from the executive branch of SG, which Victor heads.
Miller also pointed to the fact that when Classified’s newest album, So Ready, was released, Victor endorsed the album in front of the senate during the executive branch report.
Victor declined to comment on the allegations because he was unable to attend last night’s senate meeting due to being at a conference in Tallahassee.
Miller also claimed that both Abbasi and Ahmed provided misinformation used during an SG Supreme Court hearing on March 9.
The information was used as reasoning for a request for Justice Misbahuddin Syed to recuse himself from the trial.
Syed refuted the statements from Abbasi and Ahmed and did not recuse himself.
The trial in question, which has not been completed, is in regard to the validity of the recent student body elections. Former SG senator Jennifer Wilson alleged that the Election Rules Commission improperly ran the student body elections and that it was biased in favor of student body President-elect Frank Harrison throughout the election season. The hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday at 9 p.m.; no location has been named as of yet.
Senator Danya Shakfeh will be investigating the claims against Ahmed and senator Jason Cardillo the claims against Abbasi.
Ahmed said he is confident his name will be cleared and called the situation a clear case of “he said, she said.”
Abbasi, who is at the same conference as Victor, could not be reached for comment.
The senate also took the next step in an investigation into possible ethical violations by Supreme Court Chief Justice Kristina Lawence. Senator Blake Bell completed the step that Holm, Shakfeh and Cardillo are now performing in their respective investigations, and the senate formed its impeachment committee to look deeper into the claims against Lawrence.
Lawrence was asked to recuse herself from the aforementioned hearing on March 9 and declined to do so.
Claims were lodged stating that Lawrence improperly discussed the case in question with Wilson, the plaintiff. She also allegedly had prior relations with Harrison, who is closely related to the case.
The committee is made up of senators Shakfeh, Zac Floweree, Joe Monte, Katie Bolshakova and Mark Vila.
The committee will look into whether Lawrence’s decision to remain on the hearing was an ethical one and whether the senate should pursue impeachment.
Aside from the investigations launched, nearly 20 students and alumni showed up for the senate meeting to voice their concerns over the Agency Review Board’s methods in selecting a new station manager for WBUL, the campus radio station.
The ARB is the body responsible for advising and governing the SG agencies, which include SG Computer Services, the Student Resource Agency, WBUL and SAFE Team.
The ARB selected Abyssinia Bandoh as station manager. If the senate confirms him for the position, his appointment will be official. His confirmation vote is expected to take place at next Tuesday’s senate meeting.
Bandoh was not at last night’s meeting and could not be reached for comment.
WBUL representatives did not speak out against Bandoh personally but expressed concerns they were never consulted by the ARB in the selection process. They also expressed concerns that Bandoh had not been working at WBUL and thus is an outsider unfamiliar with the workings of WBUL.
Those there to express concerns included former Station Manager Kendrell Watkins, interim Station Manager Angela Granese, several DJs and many other WBUL employees.
Coincidentally, the senate discussed a bill last night that would prohibit senators who have not served one full semester in the senate from running for senate president. The bill is slated for further discussion at next Tuesday’s meeting.