On Monday, the Clemson Student Senate voted 40-18 to hold an impeachment trial against Student Body Vice President Jaren Stewart. The vote comes on the heels of a procedural error in the last Senate meeting that prevented the Articles of Impeachment from being heard.
Senator Miller Hoffman reintroduced the Articles of Impeachment and demanded “that this body at least listen to what I have to say”. The charges against VP Stewart included not fulfilling his elected duties as vice president and being unfit for his office, stemming from the allegations levied against Stewart when he was fired as a resident assistant last April. Stewart, President Killian McDonald, and Attorney General Janay Crosland were not in attendance, as they were in Washington D.C. for the ACC Advocacy Conference.
The first major vote on the issue came on whether or not the Senate would enter executive session for the question and answer period as well as the pro-con debate, removing everyone from the room except the senators and a select few officials and turning off the live stream. That vote failed 37-20, and the proceedings were conducted in the public eye.
After a 15-minute question and answer period for Senator Hoffman, the pro-con period began. On the con side, the most prominent arguments were that the leaked incident reporting form was illegally required and shouldn’t be entertained, that the Senate should wait until Stewart and Crosland were present, and that the trial would be an “unfair process” for Stewart. The arguments on the pro side centered around putting the issue to rest with a hearing and removing the cloud hanging over both Stewart and the Senate with their constituents.
Senate President Leland Dunwoodie and the Senate officers maintained order during most of the nearly two-hour period, though Senator Anna Albert prompted a loud response from both the Senators present as well as the gallery after calling Hoffman a racist.
Once the debate ended there was a motion to vote by secret ballot. This motion survived an objection, and at 11pm the votes were totaled at 40-18 in favor of holding an impeachment trial, easily surpassing the 50 percent plus one threshold needed.
According to Article V of the Undergraduate Student Government Constitution, the trial must take place “no earlier than one week and no later than two weeks after the motion to impeach has been passed”, and the entire trial will be done in executive session, with exceptions for witnesses, who will be let in one at a time. Two-thirds votes are required to impeach, and any appeals would need to be sent to the Student Supreme Court within five university business days.