Student Association President Erika Feinman removed SA presidential candidate Cole Ettingoff from his position as director of campus operations, Feinman confirmed Wednesday.
Feinman said they made the decision to remove Ettingoff from the SA executive cabinet after he accused them of helping to organize a “smear campaign” against him in a complaint filed with the Joint Elections Committee, the student body that oversees SA elections.
“We essentially decided that I can not have someone on my team who makes false statements about me or my chief of staff, working in my cabinet,” Feinman said.
Presidents have the ability to remove directors at their discretion effective immediately, according to the SA constitution.
Ettingoff and his girlfriend Ali Belinkie filed allegations of harassment and intimidation against SA presidential candidate Lande Watson’s team last month. The JEC disqualified Watson from the presidential election Saturday.
Among the allegations filed were claims that Feinman was linked to creating a “smear campaign” against Ettingoff and that Nick Watkins, SA chief of staff, had purposely intimidated Ettingoff not to join the race. Both allegations were cleared by the JEC.
Feinman said they consulted both Watkins and SA Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno when making the decision.
Ettingoff said in an email that his removal from the cabinet is illustrative of why “so many students” were afraid to speak out against Watson’s alleged harassment. He said students were afraid of being “punished for filing complaints.”
“Firing a student for calling out behavior that threatens other students is an act of retaliation and is petty,” he said. “Maybe Erika just forgot to read the finding of fact. If they had then perhaps Lande would be out of office as well.”
Watson, who currently serves on the SA executive cabinet as the vice president for public affairs, can only be removed if she resigns or if the senate impeaches her, according to the SA constitution. Feinman cannot remove vice presidential members at their own discretion like directors.