CUSG Senate Votes to Hold Impeachment Trial for VP Stewart -Zachary Faria

On Monday, the Clemson Student Senate voted 40-18 to hold an impeachment trial against Student Body Vice President Jaren Stewart. The vote comes on the heels of a procedural error in the last Senate meeting that prevented the Articles of Impeachment from being heard.

Senator Miller Hoffman presenting articles of impeachment. (Photo: Georgie Silvarole/Independent Mail)

Senator Miller Hoffman reintroduced the Articles of Impeachment and demanded “that this body at least listen to what I have to say”. After concluding his reading of the articles, the charges against VP Stewart included not fulfilling his elected duties as vice president and being unfit for his office, stemming from the allegations levied against Stewart when he was fired as a resident assistant last April. Stewart, President Killian McDonald, and Attorney General Janay Crosland were not in attendance, as they were in Washington D.C. for the ACC Advocacy Conference.

The first major vote of the issue came on whether the Senate would enter executive session for the question and answer period as well as the pro-con debate, removing everyone from the room except the senators and a select few officials and turning off the live stream. That vote failed 37-20, and the remainder of the proceeding was conducted in the public eye.

After a 15-minute question and answer period aimed at Senator Hoffman, the pro-con debate period began. On the “con side”, the most prominent arguments were that the leaked incident reporting form was illegally required and shouldn’t be entertained, that the Senate should wait until Stewart and Crosland were present, and that the trial couldn’t possibly be a “fair process” for Stewart. The arguments on the “pro side” centered around putting the issue to rest with a hearing and removing the cloud hanging over both Stewart and the Senate with their constituents.

While Senate President Leland Dunwoodie and the Senate officers did a fantastic job of maintaining order during the nearly two-hour period, the debate became undeniable chaotic and disorderly when Senator Albert accused Senator Hoffman of being a racist, prompting loud responses from both the Senators as well as the gallery. Once the debate was ended there was a motion to vote by secret ballot. This motion survived an objection, and at 11pm the votes were totaled at 40-18 in favor of holding an impeachment trial against Student Body Vice President Stewart, easily surpassing the 51% threshold needed.

According to Article V of the Undergraduate Student Government Constitution, the trial must take place “no earlier than one week and no later than two weeks after the motion to impeach has been passed”, and the entire trial will be done in executive session, with exceptions for witnesses, who will be let in one at a time. Two-thirds votes will be required to impeach, and any appeals would be required to be sent to the Student Supreme Court within five university business days.

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