Entire SGA executive branch resigns following impeachment petition

President Rachel Ronau, Vice President Mitchell Henry, and three other student government members resigned Friday following Tuesday petition for impeachment of SGA President

Ronau+and+Henry+pose+in+front+of+the+library+shortly+after+they+assumed+office+on+April+24%2C+2019.
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Entire SGA executive branch resigns following impeachment petition

Ronau and Henry pose in front of the library shortly after they assumed office on April 24, 2019.

Ronau and Henry pose in front of the library shortly after they assumed office on April 24, 2019.

John Clere

Ronau and Henry pose in front of the library shortly after they assumed office on April 24, 2019.

John Clere

John Clere

Ronau and Henry pose in front of the library shortly after they assumed office on April 24, 2019.

John Clere, Editor-in-Chief

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The IUS Student Government Association President and Vice President submitted a letter of resignation Friday, Sept. 20 following Tuesday’s SGA Senate petition to impeach President Rachel Ronau.

The resignations were to be discussed at the SGA’s weekly meeting on Friday, but the senate began its meeting by voting to remove The Horizon’s reporter from the meeting. The Horizon’s reporter was the only non-SGA student at the meeting asked to leave.

The Horizon requested a copy of the meeting’s minutes after the meeting but was told by the SGA Senate the minutes are confidential because the meeting was an executive session.

SGA Secretary Rena Andrews, Press Secretary McKenna Curry, and Executive Assistant Bailey Seacat also resigned Friday.

In accordance with the SGA’s line of succession, Senate President Grant Hill will become the new president.

Hill said in an interview after Friday’s meeting he has a significant amount of work to do in preparation for his presidency. The highest of his priorities, he said, is appointing a new vice president.

“I will try to next week,” Hill said. “I have a few picks in mind.”

Impeachment

The SGA would not release to The Horizon a copy of the petition for impeachment or the name of the senator who filed the petition.
According to SGA Associate Justice John Pillow, the petition to impeach President Ronau was filed “because the president would not work with and listen to the senate’s advice or try to compromise with the senate.”

The SGA has been in gridlock since the start of the semester, passing no recommendations and confirming no appointments made by the president. At the third meeting of the semester, so few senate members were present that a quorum was not reached, meaning not enough SGA members were present to call the meeting into session.

“Decisions were always still made not based on what we had talked about, so they would vote down everyone I appointed even though we had talked about voting them in,” Ronau said in an interview Saturday.

Associate Justice Pillow announced to the SGA on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 4:21 p.m. he had received a petition for the impeachment of President Ronau, according to screenshots of the SGA group text chat provided by Ronau.

In the group message, Pillow said an arbitration meeting would be scheduled within 24 hours. The SGA executive branch did not respond to that request.

“We never did the arbitration,” Ronau said. “I felt that even if I weren’t to be impeached, if they decided not to impeach me, it was still something where they didn’t want me there, so they wouldn’t be willing to work with me.”

Moving Forward

“We have a lot of work to do,” Senator Stephanie Devore said in an interview after Friday’s meeting.

As the new SGA president, Hill said his biggest goal is recruitment. He said for the student government to operate efficiently, it needs to have more senators than it does now.

“The numbers right now are the lowest since I came in, which would be the fall semester of 2016,” he said.

Ronau said she is going to start a student government watchdog group called Students United Southeast at the end of November. She said it will be modeled after the Students United group at Minnesota State University.

“If there is something in the constitution that’s not being interpreted correctly by the judicial, we’ll know about it because we’ll actively study the constitution and we’ll make sure we’re holding their judicial accountable since the judicial is not holding everyone else accountable,” Ronau said.

She said the club will not be in competition with the SGA. “It’s not a governing body at all. It’s an awareness club,” she said.

Ronau said she holds no ill will toward the SGA after the impeachment petition and her resignation.

“No,” she said. “None at all.”