CUSG Senate Makes Error in Rejecting Motion to Impeach Student Body VP Jaren Stewart -Alexander Cullen

During their regular weekly session this past Monday the 9th, Clemson Undergraduate Student Senate took a serious turn. Senator Miller Hoffman, Chair of the Senate Funding & Procedures Committee, raised a motion to call for the initiation of impeachment procedures.

Student Body Vice President Stewart has been under fire as of late for two issues. The first having been VP Stewart’s decision not to stand for the pledge before student senate, the second being the leaked release of a report about Stewart’s conduct while acting as an RA.

CUSG Senate assembled on October 9th, 2017

The session of CUSG Senate convened normally, and was marked by the passage legislation related to club funding and the introduction of a resolution that would encourage the Clemson Board of Trustees to take action in supporting the passage of the DREAM Act. However, the emphasis of the night was on the raising of impeachment procedures. Students clamored to occupy the room and show support for the Vice President, most of them even choosing to remain seated for the pledge with him.

Tensions first came to a head during the period of updates where VP Stewart attempted to present a statement on “Social Lynching.” The Student Body VP was attempting to address the allegations against him, claiming that the leaked document was intentionally leaked in order to discredit VP Stewart for having not stood for the pledge. Before long a senator stood to make a point of order suggesting that, “This is an inappropriate discussion to have during committee updates.”

The Vice President was quick to respond saying, “I’m sure you would think that.” The duration after was filled with a struggle between Vice President Jaren Stewart attempting to continue and Senate President Dunwoody attempting to maintain order, asking the VP to save his statements for announcements at the end. Finally, after multiple actions and points made by other senators, VP Stewart chose to sit, agreeing to make his statement during the period of announcements.Later Student Body Vice President Jaren Stewart did resume his presentation where he acknowledged the existence of the report and made claims as to why it had been released at the time it was saying, “Articles were written on me about a conduct matter already adjudicated by OCES,” he continued, “If we think about the intent, why was just the complaint but not the resolution let out?” The VP called to question the motivations behind the release of the document, believing it to be a distraction and retaliation against him for having sat for the pledge as Student Body Vice President, “This was a public spectacle in order to persecute me.”

It was near the end of the period of announcements Senator Hoffman, Chair of the Senate Finance & Procedures Committee, motioned to introduce articles of impeachment against VP Stewart. Senator Thomas Marshall promptly objected to the motion stating, “I can’t stand to do this, I can’t stand. I stand in support of Jaren Stewart tonight. I just cannot. I’m sorry Miller. I can’t.”

Student Body Vice President Jaren Stewart

When asked why he motioned, Senator Hoffman told the TTO in a statement that, “I motioned to introduce it because this is our explicit procedure for dealing with matters of this nature. The process of impeachment is the legislative body’s method for determining fitness for office. This is a clear responsibility given to all Senators when dealing with the seriousness of the allegations and past events.”

Senate then voted on whether or not the objection would be held, eventually upholding that objection 35-26, with the Student Senate believing that a 2/3 majority would have been required to overrule Senator Marshall’s Objection. Now this is reported to have been an error committed on the behalf of CUSG Senate President who ruled on the motion.

In an interview with the TTO, Senate President Leland Dunwoody explained that he had been out of order, and had any other senator recognized that and brought it to the attention of the body the decision would not have been made, “I would’ve said ‘Yep, you’re absolutely right. My fault,’” he said. “[But] Because I banged my gavel to adjourn the session and no one called me out of order, the motion still stands as if everything was done correctly and as if the articles of impeachment were not heard.”

As it stands the article of impeachment have not been brought against VP Jaren Stewart.

The Clemson Undergraduate Student Senate Hearing can been viewed here:

The TTO reached out to Student Body Vice President Jaren Stewart for a statement but received no response.

The TTO reached out to Student Senate Representative Thomas Marshall for a statement but received no response.




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