Impeachment Trial: VP Stewart to Remain in Office -Zachary Faria

Student Body VP Jaren Stewart.

Jaren Stewart will remain the student body Vice President after the senate voted 42-16-6 in his impeachment trial, falling short of the 44 votes needed to reach a 2/3rds majority by a mere two votes. The trial began at 7pm and came to an end at 5:55am, when the secret ballots were counted, clocking in at just under eleven hours. The impeachment fell two votes short, with 42 senators voting in favor of Stewart’s removal and only 16 voting against. Six senators abstained from the vote, in addition to Senate President Leland Dunwoodie, who abstained due to the fact The Senate Handbook calls for the Senate President to vote only in a cases where they might effect the outcome.

The impeachment effort stems from a leaked incident reporting form that detailed allegations of misconduct by Stewart when he was serving as a resident assistant, according to Senator Hoffman. Stewart was terminated from his position shortly after the report was filed. One of the victims forwarded TTO an email she had received from OCES which claimed that Stewart had indeed been found in violation of the student code of conduct for trespassing/unauthorized entry. Stewart was given both a verbal and written reprimand for his actions after meeting with OCES on July 25th.

Protestors carrying signs voicing concerns over allegations of sexual harassment against VP Stewart.

Several protestors were present when the trial began to express their support for the victims, bearing signs that read “Her Voice Matters” and “Victims are Always Blameless”. The bulk of the near eleven-hour trial was held in executive session, but the final twenty minutes of the trial, the casting of the votes as well as the verdict, was open to the public.

The decision can be appealed to the student Supreme Court within five days. It is also possible for the Articles of Impeachment to be reintroduced against Stewart at any time, since the Senate has no rules prohibiting them from being reintroduced any number of times. If the appeal fails and the Articles are not reintroduced, Stewart will be able to finish out his term as vice president and remains eligible to run for president.

Protestors were present before the VP and senators arrived where they sat silently by the entrance to the chambers.

Stewart had claimed that the impeachment was designed to block him from running for president based on his protests of the Pledge of Allegiance and his role as a the “face of disruption” on campus. Both Stewart and his supporters had either implied or outright stated that the impeachment effort was motivated by implicit racial bias.

After the trial, Stewart was asked how it felt that 42 senators had voted in favor of his impeachment, responding, “42 senators voted to remove me and I’m still here.” Stewart added that his goals now are to “bring students, particularly minority students, from the margins to the center.” “There are things that our body, and myself especially need to continue to improve on in order to represent our students.”

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