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Senate fails to meet quorum, Clegg escapes trial


Student Government President Connor Clegg sits in preparation for a joint session on his impeachment trial.

Photo by

Carrington Tatuml | Opinions Editor

The joint session of the Student Government Senate and the Graduate House of Representatives to determine the conviction status of Student Government President Connor Clegg did not meet quorum, effectively ending the session, which will not be rescheduled.
Following the Texas State Supreme Court’s Feb. 27 decision which found Clegg not guilty, Alissa Guerrero, international relations senior and author of the articles of impeachment, drafted an appeal to Dean of Students Margarita Arellano, which Sen. Claudia Gasponi sponsored and said she co-authored the articles. Following Arellano’s approval, the joint session was created and would allow the Graduate House of Representatives and the Student Government Senate to vote on Clegg’s conviction.
At 5:18 p.m., Senate Clerk Brianah Rodriguez began roll call. Of the Senate, 21 senators were present and 19 were absent. Of the Graduate House, 12 representatives were present and one was absent. The joint session did not meet quorum, forcing the adjournment of the joint session.
Following Student Government Vice Presidents Jackie Merritt’s announcement of the adjournment, students chanted “shame, shame” as Clegg left the room. As the senators met behind the podium, constituents began to voice their concerns and rally for the immediate removal of Clegg and absent senators.
Merritt said senators with more than two unexcused absences are eligible for impeachment, according to the Standing Rules and Regulations of the Senate. Impeached members of Student Government would not be able to hold office again.
The senators with excused absences were Benjamin Bartlett, Adrian Cooper, Kaitlin Evans, Ana Flores, Bodie Fry, Skyler Loosmore, Jisselle Martinez, Madison McDonald, Moira Plowey, Shania Waugh, Maddie Gray and Stormi Rodriguez. The unexcused senators were Shelby McElwee, Diego Abelar Morales, Karishma Patel, Alexander Sherman, Matthew Barzilla, Soroush Omidvarnia and Christian Sears.
Of these, Sens. Bartlett, Flores, Martinez, McDonald, Patel, Barzilla, Rodriguez and Cooper will be returning next year. Sens. Keely Freund, Cristian Cienfuegos, Victoria Faz, Elijah Miller, Emari Shelvin, Alex Molina, Tucker Thompson, Claudia Gasponi and Shania Waugh called for the immediate resignation of the returning senators mentioned above, as well as Clegg.
Emmy Orioha, political science junior and president of the Pan African Action Committee, said he was disappointed in those that didn’t show.
“This is not the first time this has happened,” Orioha said. “It is no coincidence that when Connor Clegg’s trial is here and it’s time to finally vote, the students aren’t here. It’s cowardice.”
Tafari Robertson, public relations senior and former president of the Pan African Action Committee, said he ran to the LBJ Teaching Theatre from class as soon as he heard of the adjournment. After learning of Clegg’s departure, Robertson called for University officials to meet with the constituents that remained in the theatre. Students began a sit-in protest that would remain in effect until their requests were heard.
Vice President for Student Affairs Joanne Smith, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Sherri Benn and President-elect of the Hispanic Policy Network Jesse Silva came to the theatre shortly after and created a dialogue between students and themselves.
Smith said that it is a process to make the requested changes and that she empathizes with the minority student body.
“I am definitely going to contact the President’s Cabinet,” Smith said. “This is a consultive process. We are committed. I am committed.”

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