Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Alleged Student Senate violations tossed aside

Sam Hill | The Free Press

Posted on October 04, 2014 in News
By Sam Hill

Two weeks ago the Student Senate treasurer denounced decisions made by the senate chair and parliamentarian to withhold his paycheck after multiple absences.

Treasurer Jason Blanco recommended that Joshua Dodge, the senate chair, and Joshua Tharpe, the parliamentarian be removed from their positions for violating the constitution, which does not give them the authority to alter stipends.

According to members of the senate’s executive board, Blanco never filed the proper paperwork to the Violations Inquiry Committee to warrant investigating his claims and call for Dodge and Tharpe to be removed and that he quit immediately after that meeting.

“There was nothing properly submitted, so, officially, there’s nothing to talk about,” said Tharpe.

Dodge, Tharpe and Judson Cease, the senate vice-chair, declined to discuss the specifics of Blanco’s accusations because they were discussed within an executive session. When a senator is appointed, they are asked to sign a confidentiality waiver restricting them from speaking about what is discussed in those sessions. The senate generally goes into executive session to discuss personal problems including promotions, demotions or dismissals.

Dodge did say that the issue with Blanco’s accusations were strictly procedural and the decision to not act on his concerns was indeed not biased.

The Student Government Association constitution requires anyone accusing an individual of violating the senate’s rules and regulations to file multiple copies of a formal complaint including a full description of the violation, names of witnesses, contact information and their signature. After a formal complaint is submitted, the VIC has ten days to notify the accused party, another ten days to convene and investigate and 30 days to conclude their findings and choose an appropriate penalty.

Because Blanco did not file a formal complaint, the VIC is unable to investigate, let alone act and remove anyone from their position.

“If he had filed a complaint properly, it would’ve been investigated but he walked away,” said Tharpe.

Dodge declined to comment on Blanco’s request to have him removed from his position, saying that there are two sides to every story and that he didn’t feel comfortable speaking on the situation to the press. He suggested that any student who wanted to know his thoughts on the issue to come speak with him during his office hours in the SGA office.

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