The Student Association’s former executive chief of staff filed a complaint against President Christian Zidouemba in Student Court, contesting the legitimacy of his presidency after the executive cabinet voted to remove him in July.
Student Court Chief Justice Devin Eager released the complaint Wednesday afternoon, which former Chief of Staff Cordelia Scales – who was fired by Zidouemba during the power struggle – filed July 18. Scales alleges Zidouemba is not the legitimate president of the SA, and the suit calls on the court to remove Zidouemba from office and reinstate Scales to her previous position.
Two members of the executive cabinet withdrew their votes to remove Zidouemba from office in July, seemingly ending the scandal and confirming Zidouemba’s presidency – until the lawsuit’s release. Eager said in an email that he’s scheduled the initial consideration meeting for the complaint on Sept. 4.
“I strongly recommend all parties read through the order carefully, and abide by the deadlines therein for filing of papers and forwarding of information to the Court,” Eager said in an email to involved parties. “The Court will be meeting on September 4, 2022 to give initial consideration to the complaint.”
The complaint alleges Zidouemba was removed from his position as president of the SA during the initial July 1 meeting in which the executive cabinet voted to remove him, and thus was not entitled to executive powers when he attempted to fire Scales the same day. Scales announced her resignation on July 2.
Andrew Harding, the newly confirmed legislator general, said he will represent Zidouemba alongside Senate Chief Counsel Juan Carlos Mora. Harding and Mora said in a statement that the lawsuit “is an upsetting attempt to reignite the anti-democratic removal attempt.”
“The executive and legislative branches have agreed to collaborate on this case to decisively end this dispute and restore confidence in the SA,” they said in the statement.
Dylan Basescu, the former legislator general who is representing Scales and also voted to remove Zidouemba from office, said in a statement that Scales should be reinstated so her resignation can “become effective.” He said from there, Scales would apply to the chief of staff position under a new president.
“My client’s organizational skill and institutional knowledge will be important in order to avoid the myriad crises and dysfunction of the current executive branch,” he said.
Basescu said he hopes the Student Court will resolve the issue quickly. He said he is “optimistic” after speaking with Harding.
The complaint requests a declaration that Zidouemba is not the SA’s president, and that Scales be reinstated as chief of staff.
Harding, Mora and Zidouemba have until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 3 to respond to the complaint to the chief justice.