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SG Senate forgets to hold ERC accountable


During this year’s circus of an election process for Student Government (SG), SG entities have been charged with claims of “incompetence,” “abuse of power,” and various members have been accused of injecting bias to sway the election.

Though some members of the SG Senate have swiftly begun the impeachment process when claims were brought against three members of the SG Supreme Court, what has been missing is the call for the impeachment of the members of the Election Rules Commission (ERC).

When the ERC was charged with – and found guilty of – bias  in the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Jean Cocco campaign and against the ERC, no one acted – no one except for head of the ERC and Supervisor of Elections Sayf Hassouneh, who appealed the decision to the Dean, despite the SG Attorney General issuing an official opinion that the Court has final say on internal SG matters.  The Dean later ruled in favor of the
Supreme Court.

On the other hand, when a memo of impeachment against the Supreme Court justices was issued to the SG Senate, senators quickly formed a committee based on the memo that hinted at more than 30 violations of ethics and statutes but provided
no evidence. 

When the committee met this week, they voted to pursue the impeachment with only a few minutes of discussion and still no evidence of
any violations.

While the ERC appeal to the Dean made allegations of threats, bribery and coercion and may or may not warrant an impeachment of the justices, it is hypocritical of the student Senate to not investigate the ERC as well.

If the Senate wishes to uphold its statutes and ethics, it should take all claims of
bias seriously. 

Impeaching the justices and not the ERC only paints a double standard that can only make students more critical of SG politics – which is saying a lot since a blog titled “Democracy Suspended at USF as Student Government Fails at Virtually Everything” has already been shared almost 500 times
on Facebook.

Furthermore, not only has this election process led by the ERC included two elections, a slew of grievance hearings that are dubious at best, a Supreme Court case and intervention by the Dean, the ERC members are still getting paid with student-paid fees for their drawn-out time, Director for Student Government Advising, Training & Operations Gary Manka said.

If the Senate or executive branch won’t thoroughly investigate the claims of bias and abuse of power against the ERC, the very least SG can do is cleanly remove the members and stop wasting student fees on them.