Senate votes to reprimand two senators
March 21, 2013
Student Senate voted to reprimand two senators, while fining one of the two for violations of the Senate’s administrative policies regarding official duties.
A.J. Hansen, the athletics representative, was issued five demerit points for failing to log office hours, while Legislative Affairs Director Riley Haynes was issued seven demerit points and fined $75 from his March stipend of $200 also for failing to log office hours.
Since Haynes holds a director’s position, he receives a monthly stipend from Senate, whereas Hansen, as a representative, does not receive a stipend.
Demerits are a system in which the vice president holds the senators accountable for performing duties and adhering to Senate policies.
In a closed session the ethics committee heard all the details of the case for demerits for each Senator. The vice president is required to refer a senator to the ethics committee for removal if said senator reaches 10 demerit points, and according to the complaint brought by Vice President Matthew Hobbs, both Hansen and Haynes reached 10 demerits, according to Hobbs’ recording.
However, once the ethics committee met and heard both sides (which were discussed in closed session), the ethics committee recommended that Hansen be demerited five points and Haynes seven and the fine.
The ethics committee’s recommendation was then put forth before the entire Senate, and by a vote of 13-2-7 approved the five and seven demerits, each by separate motions and votes. The $75 fine was passed in another separate motion by a vote of 14-3-5. Haynes, who is also a Senate presidential candidate, chose not to comment on the specifics of him receiving a fine in addition to the demerits.
Sam Tauchen, the chair of the ethics committee, said he could not comment on the specifics of either case due to Wisconsin Open Meeting Laws referring to discipline. However, he did say that the ethics committee decided what they thought was best and that the Senate, affirming that the reprimand was fair, according to Tauchen, upheld this decision.
The motion for the reprimand put forth by Senators Derek Johnson and Elliot Kann, also stated that the senators show satisfactory progress at working said points off by reducing, by a minimum, of two demerit points by April 19.
According to the Senate bylaws, a senator could work off the demerits for completing extra office hours, for example. Office hours are the work a senator does as part of his or her Senate duties.
The Student Voice inquired over the legality of fining Haynes, since the Senate’s bylaws say that proper punishment includes demerits, written reprimand or removal.
However, Senate Advisor Paul Shepherd said that the bylaws list what could be punishment, but do not list what explicitly cannot.