CUSG Senate Concerned Over “Illegal” Media Contact -Zachary Faria

Amid questions of CUSG’s relationship with the media, one student senator suggested that other senators were reaching out to media outlets illegally to express their opinions on the state of CUSG.

Screenshots of the senate’s GroupMe chat show the senator, who will remain anonymous for the protection of his/her identity, advocating for a discussion on talking to the media as a body. When asked for clarification from another senator, he/she explains that “I’m talking about individual senators reaching out to various media outlets illegally,” adding that a dialogue on the issue would move Clemson forward.

The comments come on the heels of a report from Campus Reform that senators were forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement to participate in the impeachment trial of Vice President Jaren Stewart. Two senators were quoted in the article, one anonymously, expressing their distaste and disappointment with how the trial was handled. However, neither of the senators shared details of the content revealed in the trial, which would violate the NDA as well as senate rules regarding executive session.

At the January 22nd senate meeting, just six days after the Campus Reform report was published, Senate President Leland Dunwoodie made a public announcement requesting that senators wishing to express their opinion to the media speak first with him, their committee chair, and Dean of Students Dr. Chris Miller. “When people talk on behalf of the senate, or even just express their opinions as a senator in print, it reflects on each of us,” Dunwoodie said, “and then we are the ones ultimately that deal with [whatever] consequences may occur”.

Questions about CUSG’s relationship with the media and the public have been circling since before the impeachment trial, when the Tiger published a staff editorial calling for the trial to be open to the public. According to CUSG rules, impeachment proceedings are to be held in executive session, meaning only senators and a select few officials can be present and are barred from speaking about the content of the session once it is over. The senate had previously voted on entering executive session when the Articles of Impeachment were introduced, which would have shut out the public entirely for the periods of question and answer and pro-con debate about the charges. That vote failed 37-20.

The TTO reached out to Senate President Dunwoodie and the anonymous senator for comment, but neither responded in time for publication.

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