Two student senators unfairly punished, Senate should acquit
March 14, 2013
Two student senators are facing removal from office following an ethics complaint brought against them by Vice President Matthew Hobbs.
Senators A.J. Hansen and Riley Haynes are accused of violating Student Senate’s administrative policies regarding office hours.
Office hours serve as a check to show the senators have been doing adequate work for the Senate and students. The complaint stated that the senators did not log their completed office hours.
Now, the decision to remove the senators rests in the hands of the entire Senate.
While we fully support the Senate’s office hours system and while both senators know and have admitted they have done wrong, we believe that removing the senators from office is unfair to the senators.
This comes with the full knowledge that those senators did complete the work, they simply did not record that they had done so.
We believe this because during the ethics committee hearing, there was discretion on what the Senate’s policies were and if the proper procedures were followed for removal.
The Senate was unclear about what their own office hours and polices were regarding removal due to recent changes in its by-laws.
Therefore, we feel that these two senators should not be punished due to technicalities.
We are not excusing the senators for their mistakes because we do hold our elected officials to the highest standard as representatives on the student body.
We hope this is a lesson well learned for all senators and that basic duties and procedures should be followed to ensure the Senate is representing and working for the student body, especially when it comes to something as simple as logging in a binder that you completed the work you are expected to do, as was the case in the ethics complaint.
Senate President Bobbi O’Brien stated at the ethics hearing that the committee, and now the Senate should make their decision based on whether or not the Senate would be better off with these two senators serving on Senate.
We believe the Senate needs these two representatives and we hope the Senate will not remove these senators from office for violating a petty rule.