In one of the most tense and well-attended meetings this semester, the Student Government Association voted to indefinitely postpone the impeachment process against President Jeanette Morelan Monday night.
The motion to postpone the bill was approved by a secret ballot vote with 25 “yes” votes, seven “no” votes and three abstaining votes. A postponed bill requires a two-thirds majority vote to be brought up for discussion again by congress.
Some representatives, including Morelan, believe the bill is officially dead.
“Congress doesn’t believe it’s worth even pursuing any further,” Morelan said after the meeting. “So, at least to me, what it says is that they didn’t really want to bring it up because they don’t feel like it’s valid.”
The impeachment charges were brought against Morelan following the the Judicial Review Board’s ruling that she acted unconstitutionally when she decided to not submit a resolution regarding Vision 2020 to senior leadership.
Representatives said the whole impeachment process was a distraction from what really mattered: the students.
“I feel like overall, SGA is making a turnaround and that tonight shows their ability to move past it in a positive way, to do what’s best for the school,” freshman representative Jade Cooper said.
However, sophomore Hannah Murray, one of the bill’s sponsors, defended the bill and said Morelan violated the SGA constitution in several ways.
“She willingly and knowingly violated the parameters of her office, which sets a dangerous precedent and undermines any and all legislation,” said Murray.
After the discussion, sophomore Mare Rote brought up the motion to postpone and said SGA needs to move on.
“I see SGA as something better than all the drama,” Rote said. “I hope that we can just focus on the students.”
Before the resolution was introduced, students were given the opportunity to speak, and several of them took the chance to condemn the impeachment.
Senior J.T. Faircloth said he came to the meeting because he felt impeachment was excessive and would irreparably damage the student body’s ability to deliver its voice.
In the long run, he said, Morelan’s actions probably accomplished more than submitting the resolution would have and cited the formation of the Vision Council as an example.
“When you’re in executive leadership and you have to make choices, it’s really difficult, so I can appreciate where she was,” said Faircloth. “My concern is not whether or not she followed the constitution, my concern is whether or not she was effective.”
Katie Wiseman, a freshman representative who initially sponsored the impeachment, spoke out against it. At the meeting, she confirmed previous reports she was manipulated into becoming involved with the impeachment process.
“The people who need to take responsibility should take responsibility. Hopefully, me taking responsibility publicly in my speech and also in this recording will help that. That will be a catalyst for that,” Wiseman said. “SGA is so much more than two people fighting and so much more than the mistakes we have made. That’s why I’m mad.”
After the meeting, SGA Vice President Skyler Schmanski, at the center of allegations that he manipulated Wiseman into sponsoring the legislation, had no comment on the bill’s postponement.
Moving forward from Monday’s meeting, Morelan remained optimistic and implored students to seek the truth in the situation for themselves.
“I think it’s clear that congress and the student body feel like this is a non-issue, at least for now. I’m happy with the result. I hope that people who have questions with it, however, continue pursuing the truth and will not be afraid to do so and ask those questions, and, as I said in my report, I’m really happy to facilitate that,” Morelan said.
The next SGA meeting will be held on Feb. 23.
This article was written by the Belmont Vision staff.