The Judicial Branch of the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University has started impeachment proceedings against ASSOU Speaker of the Senate Kirby Rider following over a month long investigation into alleged misconduct.
“The Judiciary was doing some investigations based on some grievances that had been filed,” said ASSOU Justice Corey Metcalfe. “The rules were being bent for convenience. I wanted to press home that these rules are not just inconveniences to be pushed aside.”
Metcalfe was referring to a grievance that had been filed with the Judicial Branch during the winter term by former ASSOU Stevenson Union Senator Paul Jenkins.
The grievance raised two concerns – first accusing the ASSOU senate of violating his student rights by re-appointing Fiona Mattson to the position of Education, Health, and Military Leadership Senator without properly advertising the opening, and accusing Speaker Rider of negligence by not requiring new senators to submit two faculty recommendations with their application.
The Judicial Branch delivered their verdict to the ASSOU Senate on April 19, ordering them to revise their appointment process for new senators and schedule a dismissal hearing for Speaker Rider, to hear evidence and vote on whether or not to impeach him.
The Judicial Branch also censured the Speaker after a different, independent investigation determined that he had bought a digital timer with Senate Contingency Funds without first consulting the ASSOU Senate.
“I completely disagree with their process, their decisions, and the conclusions they came to,” said Rider. “I think there’s a lot of personal bias against me. I think there’s a personal attack against me with this trial.”
“I believe that our Judicial Branch is attempting to make this a bigger problem than it actually is,” said Rider. “Their call for dismissal – the crime I’ve been accused of, in the end it—benefited senate.”
“It’s unfortunate that this is being construed as a personal attack,” said Metcalfe. “Our job is to be the ones who are the hardliners, we’re supposed to monitor the other branches. We have to look at our friends and say ‘Sorry, these are the rules’.”
“Honestly, this is the first year we’ve actually had a Judicial Branch in place,” said ASSOU Computer Science and Mathematics Senator Rebekah Bergkoetter. “It kind of sucks, but they’re just doing their job. We need to follow the rules. Their job is to make us follow our rules, and correct us when we mess up.”
The dismissal hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26 at 6 p.m. in the Senate Chambers of the Stevenson Union.