The Student Association impeached President Phil Meisner Friday in an attempt to remove him from office for eight offenses. The senators who signed the articles said Meisner has been negligent of his duties by not attending meetings, not signing bills and not taking proper care for the finances of student groups.
There is no denying Meisner has been lax in his responsibilities. He was elected by the students and given a tuition stipend to serve the student body. The continued lack of time and effort put forth by Meisner is no doubt a sign that he is not interested in serving his constituents.
But, the act of impeaching the president is just another sign of an SA more inclined to replicate the federal government than get things done. Not doing one’s job well is not an impeachable offense. And even buying fireworks without proper approvals or funding, while a true lapse in judgement on Meisner’s part, is not a ground for removal.
The Senate, which has the questionable role of playing both prosecution and jury in this case, is sending the wrong message. In the federal government, the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors must be established before warranting the extreme act of removing an official. While the SA is not beholden to this same threshold, that does not give it the right to hastily invoke this action. If disagreeing with others’ actions sparked impeachment, too many people, both in the SA and the real government, would be on trial.
Meisner must come away from this action with a clear understanding that the Senate and many students are not happy with the way he has been handling his job. He must devote more time and effort to it and use the resources around him.
But the Senate must take a serious look at the issues. The Senate has sent a strong message by submitting the impeachment articles and as much as they may dislike Meisner and the work he has done, petty politics is not the answer. Unless someone can prove Meisner has done something to endanger the SA, they must not remove him. It would not only be unfair, it would be a step backward. Organizing a new administration near the end of the first semester would not help students. And after all, isn’t assisting students, and not role-playing, the reason we have a student government?