North Texas Daily

Senator requests impeachment of SGA President

Senator requests impeachment of SGA President

Senator requests impeachment of SGA President
January 23
09:34 2014

Joshua Knopp // Senior Staff Writer

International studies junior Shamaal Fletcher, college of arts and sciences senator, announced that he will ask the student body to impeach president Zachary Brown and vice president Anthony Brown via email poll on Friday for what he calls “dereliction of duty” at the Student Government Association meeting Wednesday night.

SGA President Zach Brown

SGA President Zach Brown

In an email to the Daily, Fletcher outlined the current administration’s violations of the SGA constitution and by-laws, including not appointing a Supreme Court, not maintaining committee minutes and voting records and not managing consistent meeting times, occasionally canceling meetings without senate consent. Last year, Fletcher had run against Brown for president and lost.

“I gave them time to fix their issues, yet they still fail to make any adjustments,” he said. “There has been no attempt to promote the open judicial branch seats, not any attempt to gather an unbiased group of individuals. I have had many conversations with Zach Brown about these issues, and it isn’t until now that he is trying to fix the mistakes and many cases of neglect.”

Brown said he has tried to work through these issues with Fletcher, but Fletcher has “given up.”

“For the most part, I think the whole thing is a lot of pent up frustration with the organization,” Brown said. “It shouldn’t be at this point. You don’t work against somebody and work with them at the same time. You don’t give up on the collaborative process.”

During the meeting, SGA appointed a new Supreme Court and appointed Fletcher as the new speaker of the senate, taking over for Anthony Brown who had been serving in the position last semester.

The Supreme Court is responsible for interpreting the SGA constitution and by-laws. Zachary Brown said the Supreme Court has only been called on once in the past four years. These moves effectively either correct or put Fletcher in control of several violations he pointed out.

Also appointed was this year’s election committee, including election chair Precious Femi-Ogunyemi. The election committee is responsible for holding the SGA presidential election, scheduled for March 24-26. Femi-Ogunyemi also ran against Zachary Brown last spring, losing in a controversial run-off.

Undeclared business junior Adam Hasley introduced a referendum that would charge students $5 more per semester in order to fund experimental teaching ideas.

Fletcher explained his reasoning behind impeachment for several minutes before Hasley motioned to move the discussion to another setting.

“The questions were getting more and more into a personal matter,” Hasley said. “Personally, I don’t support [impeachment]. I think Zach has done more as president than most past presidents. But on the other hand, Shamaal Fletcher is one of the most passionate members we have.”

The impeachment process will start Friday when students will receive a mass email via Eagle Connect asking them whether or not they want to impeach Brown. If two thirds of students vote yes, Brown will be removed, but there are other facets to the process.

Biology junior and member of the newly appointed Supreme Court Taura Bagheri said the constitution is “flexible” as to whether such a motion would require two thirds of the students who do vote or two thirds of the entire student body. The question, if it arises, would be put to the Supreme Court.

If Brown is impeached, the election committee, also newly appointed, would have to determine the merits of a special election for a new president, who would serve until June.

Femi-Ogunyemi said the timing would be tricky because the regular election cycle, which was approved in this meeting as well, is scheduled to run from February to March.

After Fletcher finished speaking, Hasley stood up to deliver a referendum on using innovative tools in the classroom. Hasley said the idea is to give teachers a budget allowing them to implement innovative tools in the classroom that they might not have been able to try before. At $5 per student each semester, the referendum would raise about $400,000 per year, Hasley said.

“This is our way of saying that we support innovation in the classroom,” he said. “What this is doing is allowing trial and error.”

SGA will vote on the referendum next meeting. Should it pass, the student body and the Board of Regents will also need to vote on it.

CORRECTION:

In the Jan. 23 issue of the Daily, the article “Senator requests impeachment of SGA president” misreported the position Shamaal Fletcher was appointed to and the impeachment process.

The Daily reported that the impeachment process will start Friday, and a two-thirds vote will be required to impeach president Zachary Brown. This is not true. The impeachment process will not start until Fletcher receives 1,000 signatures, which the emails he sent on Friday were seeking. After he receives those signatures, it will go to a vote. Fletcher said he has already received 200 signatures. The Daily regrets these errors.

Fletcher was appointed speaker pro tempe, not speaker of the senate. Vice president Anthony Brown will continue to serve as speaker of the senate. The speaker pro tempe stands in as speaker if the speaker cannot make it.

Graphic by Natalie Vosberg / Copy Assistant

Graphic by Natalie Vosberg / Copy Assistant

Graphic by Natalie Vosberg / Copy Assistant

Graphic by Natalie Vosberg / Copy Assistant

Zach Brown mug shot courtesy of UNT

Feature photo: Student affairs chair and international studies junior Shamaal Fletcher listens to questions raised by fellow SGA members at last night’s SGA meeting in Wooten 122. Fletcher was chosen as speaker pro tem for the meeting. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

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