Southern Oregon University’s Student Body President, Colin Davis, was impeached on Tuesday, Nov. 1 following a dismissal hearing at which student government’s Legislative Branch ruled he had broken four bylaws during the planning process of the Back 2 Class Bash. Moving forward with the line of succession, Tyler Takeshita, Davis’ Vice President assumed office as the new Associated Students of Southern Oregon University President.
The next day Davis took to Facebook thanking those who had helped him with his endeavors along the way. “I’m sad to see it end the way it did, but I’m equally excited for the new doors that will now open,” the post read, followed by the hashtag “#BalledOutOfOffice”.
After being scrutinized by members of student government for flaws in his method to secure funding for the event, a grievance was filed by Oneta Cantlon, accusing him of violating 11 bylaws. After two separate grievance hearings, the Judicial Branch declared that Davis had broken eight of the suspected 11, initiating his impeachment trial.
“I recognize that I have broken bylaws all of which have been procedural errors on my part,” said Davis during the initial grievance hearing in early October. “I made the decision to move forward with the concert because I thought it would be beneficial to the student body,” he continued in an effort to illustrate his intentions towards the event at the time it was planned.
Of the bylaws that were ultimately ruled as violated, two concerned the lack of transparency and effort to include the rest of the student body as funds were allocated towards the concert. Davis secured the money by submitting an emergency fee request to the the Advisory Council, made up of the ASSOU President and four other members of senate. Public agendas for the meetings at which the request was discussed and approved were never posted. These actions were in direct violation of bylaw 3.5.1 requiring agendas to be posted 48 hours before the meeting.
“Have you not reviewed the bylaws,” asked Ricardo Lujan a member of the Judicial Branch during the first grievance hearing. “As president of ASSOU you should know the basic procedure.”
“I felt sending out those minutes to the advisory council was what I had to do,” Davis responded. “Besides not posting the agendas, every other procedure was followed,” he said.
Over the course of the meetings the council voted to approve a budget of $55,000, taken from the Prudent Reserve Fund made up of leftover Incidental Fee income. This constituted an additional violation of bylaw 3.3.1. as meeting agendas are supposed to be made public at least 48 hours before a meeting at which an issue is being voted on. Davis failed to post these agendas at all.
Due to the nature of an emergency fee request, the budget shall only be approved if the party requesting it can prove that it is a one-time, non-recurring expense, of an emergency nature, and have potential to impact a large group of students, according to bylaws. It was ruled that the concert could not be classified as an emergency despite Davis’ argument that shrinking freshman retention rates could have a significant impact on the school if action was not taken.
The Legislative Branch ultimately found Davis guilty on four counts, with his impeachment effective immediately.
“If Erica didn’t know how to make a speakers list, would we let her be our leader,” asked Andrew Zucker, Campus Life and Housing Senator during the dismissal hearing. “If Colin is unable to do his duties, why is he our leader,” he continued.
“Colin is a leader who thinks outside the box,” said Treasa Sprague, SOU’s Administrative Services Coordinator in a letter to the Judicial Branch after the grievance was filed. “He acted in good faith and tried something different.”