During the Student Government Association meeting that took place on the Wednesday before Spring Break, a motion was introduced by SGA Vice President Taylor Fisher to discuss the beginning of pursuing an official impeachment investigation of SGA President Chase Crickenberger.
The investigation is currently paused, because two senators have removed their signatures from the petition that would have moved the impeachment investigation forward. The removal of these signatures followed a typed apology letter that was written by Crickenberger in response to the allegations that sparked the initial request for an investigation against him. Crickenberger addressed the apology letter to “members of the Emory & Henry College Senate.”
In the letter, Crickenberger references political disagreements and a perceived lack of communication between himself and senators as the root cause of the tension that sparked the investigation.
According to senator Ethan King, one of four senators that made up the investigation team coordinated by Chairman of the Senatorial Conduct Board Nathan Krauss, the foundation of the allegations against Crickenberger were of his “leadership style” and his “lack of respect towards students.”
These complaints were originally introduced by Vice President Fisher at the pre-Spring Break meeting. According to Senator Joseph Johnson, she stated that “one or several” senators had spoken to her on the issue beforehand.
The identities of those senators have not been made public.
The four students on the impeachment investigation committee, who have not formally met since the investigation was paused, are Ana Rampy, Nathan Krauss, Ethan King and Matt Wingfield.
According to several senators and Vice President Fisher, the vote to pursue an impeachment investigation against Crickenberger was 11-3, with one absence and one abstention. That abstention was Senator Joseph Johnson.
“That was an informal vote. That was us sitting in a circle and just talking,” said Vice President Fisher, in regards to the initial vote.
According to Chairman of the Senatorial Conduct Board Krauss, an impeachment process cannot be started by a vote that is not official.
“The petition was what could have started it, but there wasn’t enough signatures. The only vote that was official was the creation of the Conduct Board,” said Krauss. The Conduct Board was created the same night that the investigation for impeachment was suggested via informal vote.
Following the vote, a petition was gathered by an unknown senator in order to determine if a simple majority was in support of pursuing the investigation. Prior to Chase’s formal apology letter, the petition presumably contained enough signatures. The signatures themselves have not been made available to the Whitetopper, as Chairman of the Senatorial Conduct Board Nathan Krauss redacted the individual names of the senators in the copy of the petition that he provided.
The introductory statement of the petition states that the Senate of Emory & Henry was calling for the impeachment of Chase Crickenberger “on the grounds of not properly fulfilling his role as acting Student Body President for the 2016-2017 term of office.”
However, the determination of if these allegations can actually be considered grounds for impeachment have been up for debate among some senators.
“He hasn’t done anything to violate the Constitution,” said Senator Johnson. “The grounds for impeachment were that he’s unliked. I can’t think of anyone more enshrined in Robert’s Rules and the SGA Constitution than Chase Crickenberger,” said Senator Johnson.
There are two impeachment policies for the SGA to reference; the Student Handbook and the impeachment policy that was passed in Vice President Fisher’s sophomore year. The more recent impeachment policy outlines the order of impeachment processes and defines the selection of the Senatorial Conduct Board, but it does not specify what can actually be considered as grounds for impeachment.
Vice President Fisher compared the initial question of investigation to a “vote of no confidence.” This is a vote showing that a majority does not support the policy of a leader or governing body, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.The Whitetopper will continue reporting on this issue.
The Whitetopper will continue reporting on this issue.
– Orion Rummler