Senator impeached, bills discussed during closed Student Government meeting




Voting was held for various bills before Student Government voted for the impeachment of a senator in a closed, formal meeting Nov. 11.

Sen. Zacchaeus Lock was impeached in a vote of 9-1-1, due to his alleged actions and comments against Student Government and its members.

After all the votes on bills, Vice President Christian Ferris again relinquished the chair to Chief Justice Tommy Valentine, as he did at the informal meeting Nov. 9. Valentine outlined rules for the senators to follow while they discussed the situation, reminding everyone to act with decorum and keep their statements concise.

The second half of the meeting began with Valentine again reading the letter of removal brought forth by Senators Sarah Sperduto, Gabe Gessler, Conall Hughes and Stephen Shaw:

“We members of the Senate respectfully seek the removal of Senator Lock from the FUSG due to numerous reprehensible actions and comments that have led to the intentional degradation of FUSG and its members.  Over the past months serving in the Senate, Mr. Lock has slandered and encouraged slander of Student Government as a whole and of specific members with regards to their faith, intelligence, and intentions.

Senator Lock has encouraged the questioning of specific Senator’s love and understanding of their faith, has inexcusably and wrongly accused the FUSG of inappropriate behavior, accusing the intentions of all members of FUSG as self serving, labeling FUSG in its entirety as lacking intelligence, and accusing the FUSG as not representing the student body (sic).

Mr. Lock has shown an utter lack of respect for the organization of which he is a part and whose members elected him with full faith.  These very same members who elected Mr. Lock have found themselves and the FUSG under constant defamation by said senator.  Therefore, in order to avoid scandal, we request for Mr. Lock to resign.  If the Senator does not resign we motion to remove Senator Lock from the FUSG.”

In response, Lock read a letter that he had written and that included his apologies to Student Government and its members:

“Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Members of the Executive and Judicial Branches, Fellow Good Senators and Dear Students,

For the past six weeks, I have had the privilege of working on the Franciscan University Student Government as a senator. In the short time here, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some the best and brightest people at our school.

Representing the concerns of the Byzantine Club, the Our Lady of Sorrows club, and Pun Intended as well of those of the student body to the best of my ability, I have enjoyed helping students and clubs meet their needs. Recognizing my fellow student government officials who accomplish this task, it has been one of the most interesting and enlightening experiences of my life.

I know that we’ve had disagreements and I know that my approaches to various topics have not always been agreeable, polished or perfectly executed, but I want all of you to know that I sincerely respect each and every one of you. I respect your thoughts, ideas and opinions and I value the unique contribution that every member of this body brings to the table.

I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes, and all I can do is try to learn from them. We all make mistakes. In the past, when such mistakes have occurred in Student Government, the offenders were given the opportunity within the context of Student Government to learn the drill.

Honest mistakes not made in malice but because of an inexperience, I would think, would be better handled by teamwork and solidarity rather than alienation (sic). This is what I ask of you all today. I want nothing more than to represent the interests of the student body and I know that is the motivation in your own hearts too.

I hope that we can work together to find ways to continue the great mission of Student Government and, above all, to work toward the common Christian goals of faith, hope and love. Thank you.”

Valentine then opened the floor for debate.

Gessler made the first comment, saying, “We are all indeed entitled to mistakes. However, when you are warned a half a dozen times by the president, the vice president, the chief justice and a senator, that brings into question if you really are making mistakes or if you are simply trying to make the media stir.”

Sen. Samantha Martinez stressed the “need to reiterate (the) comments from Monday for the sake of the minutes and for (the) transparency (Student Government is) striving for.”

Martinez continued, “I feel like everyone involved (in Student Government) should have the utmost respect for this organization and our purpose, which is to serve our clubs and our student body to the best of our abilities. If there are members of Student Government who do not support this mission or act in a way that is in opposition to this mission, whether that be through (malicious) intentions or not, the actions and words of the said senator have defeated that purpose.”

Hughes said that the offenses committed by Lock were subject for impeachment but that action is not something he wanted to do or co-sponsor.

Sen. Daniel Smith added, “We are all entitled to our free speech, but I must recognize the grievous injury that has been done to the Student Government’s reputation.”

Sen. Andrea Moury also voiced her support of Lock’s impeachment, pointing out how he acted without decorum at the formal meeting Oct. 28, in response to anonymous posts made about him on the social media network Yik Yak.

Suspecting that the authors of said posts were members of Student Government, Lock called for them to address him face-to-face instead, threatening to punch someone if he so chose.

Moury also highlighted the fact that Lock “liked” several disrespectful comments toward Student Government on Facebook, which included the slander of specific members of Student Government, thus, seemingly endorsing those comments.

Shaw said, “The actions of the senator in question have wreaked havoc on Student Government’s reputation. … The language has been very injurious and we cannot afford this. It’s too much of a liability for this group and, unfortunately, I think the only remedy is to remove Sen. Lock. ”

Sperduto said, “Part of the definition of the word charity is that you are going to call someone on. I called the senator in question on in a really respectful message. …  I admit I did have some comments that were a little bit unfair and Justice Costello called me out on those and I removed the comments and I stopped replying to the Facebook stuff. That’s just because I respect the organization that I’m a part of. … The fact that I feel uncomfortable coming to a club that I’ve been a member of for four years is not okay.”

Sen. Harrison Rapp wrapped up the debate by saying, “No matter what happens, we still need to forgive and love each other.”

With the possibility of a method of formal censure being discussed for the future, votes were cast and Lock was impeached nine to one, with one senator abstaining.

The bills discussed at this week’s meeting included a bill presented by Students for Life, requesting the allocation of $50 to rent a table at the Fort Steuben Mall.  Equipped to Engage, a branch of Students for Life, will engage in peaceful dialogue about the issue of abortion with people passing by. Fall Senate Bill #58, sponsored by Moury, was passed.

The Anscombe Society presented a bill requesting the allocation of $334 for its event, “Fatherhood in the Catholic Family” on Nov. 17, to cover the cost of the speaker honorarium, food and drinks. Fall Senate Bill #65, sponsored by Martinez, was passed.

Franciscan FATAL ultimate Frisbee team presented a bill requesting the reallocation of $250 from its November lodging fund to cover its November tournament bid. The team has received free lodging thus far from generous supporters and sponsors. Fall Senate Bill #60, sponsored by Sperduto, was passed.

FATAL also requested the allocation of $200 to reimburse club member Peter Norton for the team’s October tournament bid. The administration of the tournament only accepted checks. There was too little time to try to obtain a check from the Student Government office, so Norton paid for the bid out-of-pocket. Fall Senate Bill #61, also sponsored by Sperduto, was passed.

A bill sponsored by Martinez requested the allocation of $72.74 to Student Government to purchase five copies of Robert’s Rules of Order, which provides the rules for the conduct of meetings and takes precedence in matters not addressed by the constitution and bylaws. One copy would be loaned to each justice and would be returned at the end of each semester. Fall Senate Bill #62 was passed.

Another bill presented by Martinez requested the allocation of $173.50 to Student Government to provide food for members and club representatives during the budget meeting on Monday, Nov. 16. This meeting typically lasts three hours. Fall Senate Bill #63 was passed with amendments.

Valentine sponsored a bill to amend the bylaws, II.C.12, to allow meetings to be extended when necessary by a two-thirds vote of the senate. Fall Senate Bill #59 was passed.

The Franciscan University German Club requested the allocation of $100 for its “Adventfest” event Dec. 1. “Adventfest” is a German celebration that kicks off the Advent season and aims to share the German culture with the student body. Fall Senate Bill #64, sponsored by Rapp, was passed.

A bill sponsored by Lock moved to advise Parkhurst to label the ice cream flavors in the cafeteria.  Fall Senate Bill #57 was tabled, as the ice cream flavors have since been labeled.

The Troubadour reached out to Lock for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

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