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OPINION: Email to SGA president raises questions on impartiality in impeachment proceedings

On the afternoon of Feb. 5, Student Government Association President Jeanette Morelan received an email from Braden Stover, the chairman of the Judicial Review Board, the group which deemed Morelan’s actions unconstitutional. Stover will oversee any upcoming impeachment proceedings.

The email condemned Morelan’s use of the SGA Facebook page to comment on the Bill of Impeachment against her and he expressed how he was displeased with Morelan’s treatment of the board.

“I strongly condemn your blatant misrepresentation of the job that JRB did and your attempt to demonize them. I am disappointed in your further politicizing of this situation and I am even more disappointed in your failed lack of leadership,” Stover said.

While Braden Stover may be disappointed in Jeanette Morelan, his email crossed a line with what can be considered professional, especially for his position as “overseer” of the Judicial Review Board. Had he not been in his position, it might have been excusable, or at least slightly less inappropriate.

Belmont should be disappointed in Stover’s “further politicizing of this situation” and be “even more disappointed” in his lack of leadership.

His words, not ours.

To tell the president that she is not allowed to comment on her own impeachment using her office’s social media platform is, frankly, ridiculous.

In a year where people have been crying out for transparency, it seems hypocritical to complain about an officer using that transparency to explain herself publicly to the student body.

And in messages to the Vision, Stover admits Morelan is allowed that transparency.

“If she wants to share that with the world, then that is her prerogative but I was not about to stand there and watch her throw the JRB under the bus on Facebook through the official SGA account,” he said.

Nowhere in her statement does she seem to blame the JRB for her impeachment as Stover suggests, but only says she is disappointed that such strong action should be taken against her.

And Morelan is allowed to be “disheartened.”

Morelan is allowed to have her opinions on her ousting, especially in light of the new information presented about her running mate Skyler Schmanski’s alleged role in it.

She is allowed to be “disheartened” that people are displeased with what she believed to be the right course of action.

If she weren’t, the student body would have the right to be concerned about having a leader who would be eager to resign from the position.

That being said, Stover has his own right to hold opinions about the goings-on.

He has the right to question Morelan’s motives, to be upset that the resolution was not carried through as directly as he hoped it would.

He can rebuke Morelan, even.

He is completely within his rights to hold those views, and even to go into the ruling with them.

But what he cannot do is enter into a discussion where he as the overseer is “still deciding” whether or not to be impartial.

Obviously, he has strong opinions. We applaud that.

But in his capacity as overseer of the impeachment proceedings and head of a judicial review board, it is his job to separate his personal feelings from his job in this or any case. And as he said in his messages, he can set aside his feelings toward Morelan for the length of the meeting.

If he cannot, he should step aside.

Opinions expressed in this editorial represent the majority view of the Belmont Vision editorial staff. If you would like to respond to this or any column, the Vision welcomes Letters to the Editor via our contact page.

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