Op-Ed: The CUSG Referendum to Fix Impeachment -Miller Hoffman

In the fall of 2017, Articles of Impeachment were introduced against Student Body Vice President Jaren Stewart, after allegations of severe misconduct during Stewart’s time as a Residential Assistant surfaced. Student Undergraduate Senate held a thirteen hour trial to remove Stewart from his current position and fell two votes short of securing the required super-majority in order to oust the Student Body Vice President. Throughout this process, many within CUSG and those in the Clemson Community found the process of the trial to be confusing and inefficient. In response, Senator Mason Hammond introduced Senate Bill 45 to Undergraduate Student Senate. SB 45 is a constitutional amendment outlying the impeachment proceedings and the first proposed amendment since 2011. Last Monday, Senate overwhelmingly passed SB 45 sending it to a referendum on March 7th, the same day as the General Election and Senate elections. All undergraduates will be eligible to vote on the legislation.

Unlike other voting procedures in Senate, in the impeachment trial abstentions effectively counted as no votes during the trial. In the proposed bill, this loophole would be closed and voting procedure would be standardized across all of Senate’s proceedings. Also, the bill calls for an expansion of time allocated to witnesses. When asked about the reasoning behind this, Senator Hammond stated that expanding time for witnesses “would increase due process and allow Senators to make a more informed decision.” The bill calls for the Attorney General of CUSG to preside over the trial, instead of the Senate President, as is currently outlined. Many of the changes in Senator Hammond’s bill were widely accepted across the Senate Body as improvements to the current system that were desperately needed. The changes outlined would allow CUSG to hold its members to a high standard and allow for a more fair and efficient trial in the future. I encourage all Undergraduate Students to vote “Yes” in next Wednesday’s referendum.

The full contents of the bill have been attached below. For more information about Senate Bill 45 contact the author Mason Hammond at mehammo@g.clemson.edu

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