Student Association President Christian Zidouemba and his SA legal counsel responded Saturday in a written answer and motion for dismissal to the complaint filed against them last week in the Student Court, contending he is not the legitimate SA president.
In response to former Executive Chief of Staff Cordelia Scales’s complaint that alleged Zidouemba is not the legitimate president of the SA – Andrew Harding, the legislator general, and Juan Carlos Mora, the chief counselor to the SA Senate – wrote that because both chiefs of staff did not vote to remove Zidouemba in July, he had right to the presidency and the right to terminate Scales immediately after the power struggle. The defendants also motioned for the court to officially assert that Zidouemba is president and declare Scales is no longer chief of staff.
Scales said in a statement to The Hatchet that her team is working on opposition to the defense’s motion to dismiss and that she hopes to have a “full hearing” before the court.
Five members of Zidouemba’s executive cabinet, including Scales, voted in early July to remove Zidouemba as president under Article 15 of the SA Constitution, claiming he created a “hostile” work environment and was unfit to lead. But two executive cabinet members withdrew their votes one day later and declared that Zidouemba would retain the presidency.
The defendants wrote that all individuals holding the titles specified in Article 15 of the SA Constitution – which include the chief of staff, communications director, vice president, treasurer and legislator general – had to be present for the removal vote to be valid.
During the July removal vote, Keanu Rowe, one of the two chiefs of staff, was not present for the removal vote. But all the title holders specified in Article 15 – including Scales, one of the chiefs of staff – voted for Zidouemba’s removal.
“The only other individual who could have fulfilled the role sought by [Scales] is Mr. Rowe, and he was neither present at the meeting where the vote was taken, nor did he consent to the temporary removal,” the motion reads.
The defendants also argue that the removal vote was a temporary action, not a vote permanently ousting Zidouemba from the presidency. The defendants contend that because Article 15 allows the executive cabinet to hold removal votes up to three times throughout a presidency, these removals must be temporary.
The defendants wrote that Zidouemba “did not violate any rights or cause any injustice” to Scales, so Zidouemba requested the court dismiss the case.
The defendants argued Scales is not entitled to the chief of staff position because even if she was wrongfully terminated, she resigned afterward. The defendants attached evidence that Scales resigned after Zidouemba sent the email firing her, arguing her resignation nullifies a part of her case.
“Even if Mr. Zidouemba was temporarily removed from office, [Scales] issued a public resignation on July 2, 2022, thus mooting [her] claim that she was wrongfully terminated,” the motion reads.
The Student Court will consider the original complaint and Zidouemba’s response in a private meeting Sunday evening. Scales and her team have until Sept. 6 at 11:59 p.m. to formally respond, but the court will consider anything submitted before 5:00 p.m. in their meeting tonight, Chief Justice Devin Eager said in an email.
This article appeared in the September 5, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.