SGA hosts weekly senate meetings at the James A. Thomas Hall 130. PN Photo/Christopher Machine
By Anayah L. Peterson, Managing Editor
An uproar occurred at the March 2 SGA meeting. Misunderstandings arose concerning the impeachment proceedings and mental health awareness.
Former senator Aubry Graham was impeached at the Feb. 22 meeting. He singled out another senator at this meeting.
Graham told the group that the SGA Operations Chair, Whitney Peck, had been absent more than he. This was proven false by the attendance records posted online in SGA archives.
Peck had one excused absence, two unexcused absences and one tardy in the Fall of 2021.
Graham shared his reasons why he should stay as a senator for SGA. SGA members also asked him questions about his involvement with SGA and what impact he left.
After the question period was finished and moved to the debate, they listed the pros and cons of why he should stay.
In the minutes of the meeting, Graham said, “I was elected by my student body. I would like to state that while I am unhappy about my absences, I had a traumatic experience and went through a depressive state which kept me from attending meetings.”
The statement was made during his absence appeal. He was impeached on Feb. 22. He missed three days of senate meetings. When a senator misses three days, it is immediate impeachment. However, they can appeal for those absences.
Governing documents were not up to date at the time of the meeting.
The secretary is supposed to warn senators when they have two unexcused absences in statute 3.14 of Governing Documents, but did not do it for Graham. As a result, Graham did not know he was impeached until the meeting.
In the minutes from the March 2 senate meeting, the former senator said he was notified by the vice president of his impeachment through email and not the secretary. Their secretary did not properly notify the former senator.
SGA offered the former senator and the Committee Chair to appeal unexcused absences.
Following the dust up, the governing documents were updated on March 4, 2022. Students can find this in their archive for “Governing Document.”
Senator Justin Pittman said “I’m only concerned about the statues in 3.1.4 that he’d mentioned where he hasn’t received a notification that it’s unfair. He’s entitled to his rights.”
The motion did not pass and Graham is still impeached. From the minutes of the meeting March 2, in the vote for impeachment there were three yes, four abstain and 11 no’s.
Graham said there was no petition sent out to him for the student body to vote on his impeachment.
Governing documents state that a petition for impeachment can be brought forth by five or more senators or five percent of the enrolled student body.
Graham is a part of a fraternity and his fellow brothers and a sorority went to the meeting in support of Graham.
Graham said they were not asked to come and came on their own.
SGA’s Executive Team released a statement in the next meeting apologizing for how the proceedings went. They said they have learned from this and want future SGA members to learn from this incident.
Graham wants SGA to take responsibility for what has happened. He said that you have to represent the student body to be in SGA. He said the student body has the right to voice what happened in their student government.
“I want SGA to be held accountable and take mental health more seriously. I want the student body to decide on my impeachment,” Graham said.
SGA made a mistake with their governing documents and how the impeachment proceedings took place. They did not operate off a bill that was updated in their attendance policy, which allows for three unexcused absences from two.
The governing documents have been updated after the incident but were not followed during the incident.