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Letter: Barnes supports impeachment

By JASMINE BARNES and MARA STEVENS
On February 27, 2014

Dear Editors,
It has been my goal to keep you all engaged in the goings-on of the Student Government Association and the overall community based on the external committees I am a part of and my work in SGA.
On Friday, Feb. 21, I along with two members of the SGA executive staff, Chief Justice Mara Steven and Vice President of Programming Thea Celestine, submitted articles of impeachment against SGA's executive vice president, Blake Corley, to the judicial branch.
The four impeachable circumstances, as outlined in our constitution, are: conduct unbecoming of a student government officer, failure to uphold the ideals of this constitution and university, malfeasance in office and election fraud.
The articles submitted were based on conduct unbecoming of a student government officer, failure to uphold the ideals of this constitution and university and malfeasance in office.
The articles submitted passed in the judicial branch but failed in the legislative branch. I cannot offer firsthand the process of deliberation for the voting outcome of the legislative branch, because like any other hearing at Loyola, it involves only the accused and the deliberation committee - whether it is a conduct committee, directors of residential life, or in this case, senate.
In the 11 pages of the constitution, only three and half lines deal with the procedure for impeaching an executive officer. As this has not come up in recent history, the process has not stood the test of action yet.
The constitution states:
"The articles of impeachment must be approved by a majority of the Court of Review.  If approved, documented proof will be made public and the officer is said to be impeached. The impeachment must then be approved by a two-thirds vote of the entire Senate, with the Chief Justice, who is not allowed to vote except in the event of a tie, presiding over the Senate during the impeachment hearing."
Following the procedure developed last administration for an emergency hearing, the hearing was scheduled with urgency and only the defendant and hearing body were invited to participate.
I commend Steven for remaining neutral and objective through the process. Going off of the limited procedural information in the constitution, Steven recused herself due to personal interest and appointed Justice Raymond Price, mass communication freshman, as a proxy presiding officer.
The evidence I submitted was written without subjectivity or personal interest. I believe in SGA and holding each other accountable for our actions. In working tirelessly for SGA and the Loyola community, I can say Corley's behavior and attitude toward the goal and mission of this organization has been poor and lackluster. I do not doubt his love for Loyola, but rather his ability to serve Loyola.
But this letter does not serve as a platform to attack my vice president, but rather to relay two messages: first, to convey my extreme disappointment in the outcome of the hearing; second, to urge you all to continue to be engaged in SGA.
Seventeen pieces of evidence were brought against Vice President Blake Corley, six of which I submitted.
The pieces of evidence I submitted against Corley consisted of the following: absence from meetings without notice; poorly relaying information discussed at administrative committee meetings including the University Budget Committee; failure to communicate the resignation of SGA's general secretary; failure to conduct two Senate meetings, leaving me to conduct them instead; and disregarding attempts to improve despite multiple meetings with our adviser, myself, and members of executive staff as well as peer evaluations.
The judicial branch unanimously passed the articles. One of the justices remarked that "the evidence, prima facie, is more than enough to impeach Vice President Corley ten times over."
Public record reveals that Corley violates the constitution continuously, by not posting his branch's minutes for review by the student body and not making himself available to the student body by holding his agreed upon, mandatory, minimum eight weekly office hours.
At the Wednesday, Feb. 19, executive staff meeting, Corley publicly admitted that he still had not set his hours for this semester. These are only two of the seventeen pieces of evidence. Because these seventeen pieces of evidence did not lead to a successful impeachment, Corley will continue to be paid his stipend, funded by your student fees.
The members of SGA who brought articles of impeachment of vice president Corley acted in our capacities as your representatives and compiled evidence to hold Corley most accountable for his actions, to which the judicial branch unanimously agreed.
We are severely disappointed in the outcome, but understand and hope that the elected and appointed officials of senate voted with the Loyola community in mind.
When campaigning for president of SGA, I ran on three ideals: engage, strengthen and grow. I wanted to keep the Loyola community up-to-date and actively curious in the goings of SGA, to strengthen the relationship between SGA, to members of administration, and the Loyola student media and to have SGA grow stronger and more accountable.
It was my hope that after submitting articles of impeachment, you all will see our devotion to the Loyola community and dedication to serving you to our fullest potential.
It is very simple. We work for you.
This is a call to action. Hold us accountable. Upon our swearing in we swore to "solemnly affirm that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office to which I have been selected and that I will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the Student Government Association, the rules of Loyola University New Orleans, and the values upon which Loyola was founded, so help me God."

Sincerely,

Jasmine Barnes
SGA President
mass communication senior

Mara Steven
SGA Chief Justice
history pre-law junior 


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