Senate Holds Impeachment Trial for Committee Chair
By Nicole DeJacimo, Managing Editor, and Leah McCann, Contributing Writer
On Monday, Student Senate held its first impeachment trial, spent $11,000 on club activities, and donated $25,000 to scholarships and grants. President Sydney Quan ’22 also spoke about the Integrated Learning Committee meeting, which will be held Wednesday, Oct 6 at noon; students are encouraged to attend.
Quan proposed a discussion of the impeachment of Academics and Career Affairs Committee Chair Rocco Rodrigues ’23, who was cited as violating the Senate’s attendance policy and failing to communicate with the officers on other position-related matters. The Senate approved the discussion with a two-thirds vote via secret ballot (23 for, 3 against, 1 abstained).
The federal constitution defines “impeach” as “[charging] a holder of public office for misconduct.” The Student Senate constitution defines “impeach” as removing an officer from their position in the senate.
Students began by asking questions, including the members of Alpha Chi Ro, Rodrigues’s fraternity. When students raised their voices, Quan stepped in. “If there is any disrespect in my senate I will kick you out,” Quan said.
During the discussion of evidence, the executive board denied the testimony of character witnesses, since there is no mention of such in the Senate constitution. Quan pointed out that there are “many holes” in the constitution that the board will address in the future.
The executive board laid out the following facts of the case: On Tuesday, Sept. 7, Vice President Colin Hughes ’23 congratulated Rodrigues for his continued role as head of the Academic and Career Affairs Committee which he lead for two previous years. Rodrigues did not respond. Weeks later, Secretary Evelyn Datte ’24 emailed all committee chairs and asked them to set up meetings for their committees, Rodrigues was the only one to not respond to Datte.
By Sept. 20, Rodrigues missed three senate meetings and did not hold any committee meetings. On this day, the executive board discussed the situation and emailed Rodrigues asking him if he would accept the position and he did. Datte, on the same day, then emailed him directly to set up committee meeting time and location. Rodrigues promptly responded with a time and a place.
On Sept. 28, Provost Jack Ryan emailed Quan that Rodrigues did not go to the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee and Academic Policy and Program Committee meeting. On Oct. 4, Quan emailed Rodrigues twice and asked him to “respectfully resign,” and he declined.
“I’m horrible with communication, especially emails. I never answer them,” Rodrigues said. He also cited mental health issues as the reason for not fulfilling his duties or communicating to the executive board: “But I am committed to this role and I have recovered from everything I needed to recover from. Whatever happened at the start of the semester is behind us now.”
After nearly 45 minutes of clarifying questions regarding the case facts and the rules of the constitution, the Senate held its second secret ballot with a two-thirds requirement to remove Rodrigues from the Senate.
For now, Rodrigues will continue his duties, as only 10 senators voted to “impeach” him, while 13 voted against the removal and 2 abstained.
Treasurer Connor Heath ’23 gave a budget update, stating they spent $6,134.65 so far, but more budget requests from other clubs will increase this amount. The Senate approved the full amount for every budget request this week:
- E-Sports’s request for $809.94 for protective equipment for outages and/or surges, which will provide “an investment to protect our other investment”
- Model UN’s request for $2,327 for the Georgetown conference’s fees
- Reenactment Club’s request for $3,450 for the replacement of lost equipment and new equipment for an upcoming reenactment
- DiscipleMakers’s request for $3,325 for an annual fall conference
- Students Against Sexual Assault’s request for $1,218.89 for the Clothesline Project (a domestic assault awareness project)
- A special request on the behalf of the Myra T. Herron scholarship fund for $15,000
- A special request for the Mosaic Minds in the interest of assistance with textbook payments for $10,000
The overflow fund provided the donations for the special requests.
Club Reports and Announcements
Model UN will release its application for the Georgetown conference within the next few weeks. Additionally, there was an announcement about the Ghost River authors, who spoke about the Conestoga massacre on Tuesday at 6:30 pm in the Mara auditorium. Ski Club announced their October 15 meet and greet (location TBA). E-sports announced their plans to have open hours on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday in Plank 105 (location and exact day/time TBA).
There was a question about the response from human resources about workplace violations, which have not been addressed the meeting date (Monday, Oct. 5).
Quan stated that the College is considering making Plan B accessible and free on campus, and that legality is currently being explored. She also said that printers should be moved back into the library in mid-October.
Parliamentarian Jack Comegno ’24 made an announcement and invitation for students to attend Constitution Committee meetings, which happen Fridays at 3 p.m.
Director of Student Activities and Greek Life Jon Allen announced that clubs are still able to register, but members must come to the OSAGL office to confirm. Additionally, if any activities have scheduled in-person meetings during Reading Days, members must come to OSAGL to reschedule.
Comegno updated the group on the Inclusion Amendment, which will be updated to make the Inclusion Committee more inclusive. There was a discussion of having one to two chairs and at least two voting members from the Committee in the Senate.
“Enjoy reading days, I think you all deserve some time off,” said Allen.
Edited on Oct. 7 for clarity regarding the definition of impeachment. -Nicole DeJacimo