After reading Monday’s edition of The Hatchet, I realized that information about the Senate Impeaches Meisner (p. 1) and the accompanying staff editorial (p. 4) left many students asking questions out of confusion.
I’d like to start by explaining a few things about the Student Association. First, each spring the student body elects a president, executive vice president, and at least one undergraduate and graduate from every school to serve on the Senate. Technically, we’ve been in office for six months. About a month ago, the senate appointed four, non-voting senators – two freshmen and two first-year grads – to ensure representation to all.
The SA Senate is the most widely encompassing representative forum elected by the student body. Through representative democracy, we are the students’ voice. The SA is charged with advocating for students’ rights and responsibilities, and, more specifically, our charter requires the SA to provide appropriate penalties for malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance by elected and appointed representatives and to establish appropriate procedures to determine such violations.
This responsibility has been delegated to the SA Senate. A question that has arisen is what prompted the SA Senate to take this action? If there is any question of wrongdoing (malfeasance), the Senate has the responsibility to investigate, evaluate and act accordingly. Concerns of wrongdoing by SA President Phil Meisner have been raised, and impeachment has been deemed the appropriate manner to handle this situation.
Impeachment is a hearing. Impeachment is only required if there is a question of violation of rules. The senate is not the prosecutor, as stated by The Hatchet, because no senator is permitted to act as prosecutor.
I’ll be honest with you, while the charges are public; I do not feel comfortable discussing the specifics because I am now essentially on a jury. I am trying to preserve some integrity to this situation, but I feel compelled to write and share my opinion because of all the confusion and misconstrued information.
There are concerns by some senators that President Meisner has and currently is violating the SA charter, the SA constitution, and its bylaws. What does that mean to you? These are our governing documents that are put in place to serve the students. Any violation of the documents, is an injustice to us, the students.
There have been many attempts made to address these concerns by some senators to President Meisner over a period of several months, but there was never any substantive response to our questions and requests. The majority of the Senate felt that we were left with no other option but to have a hearing and find out the truth. This is all that some of us are trying to do.
The Hatchet editorial accused the Senate of playing petty politics. But considering that we, the students, pay President Meisner an $11,000 stipend to do a job and entrust President Meisner with a $52,000 budget of the students’ money, I think it’s important to make sure that the truth is known and the students are getting their money’s worth. I for one would like to know how my money is being spent, don’t you?
This issue affects all of us and is a student issue. I encourage all of you to come Tuesday and to listen to both sides, as the Senate will be doing. If you have any questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.-The writer is a Student Association senator.