The Shippensburg University Student Government Association (SGA) met publicly for the first time this semester on Thursday but took no action on any business because there was not a quorum.
Only 16 of 24 members were able to attend the meeting, preventing the body from voting on any motions.
The following members were absent from the meeting: Stephen Washington (president), Lance Hines-Butts (vice president of external affairs), Brenda Aristy (vice president of budget and finance), Imani Cameron (non-traditional students senator), Jose Lopez (class of 2024 senator), Jordan Newsome-Little (Residence Hall Association (RHA) senator), Abdulomar Tucker (National Pan-Hellenic Council) and Bridgette Wentz (Collegiate Panhellenic Council).
SGA members who were present were unable to vote on any motions due to not meeting the two-thirds roster attendance minimum, as traditional Robert’s Rules of Order dictates, SGA President Stephen Washington explained in an interview Saturday. Washington missed the meeting due to a medical emergency.
After committee and board reports, Seth Edwards, student trustee on the SU Council of Trustees, announced the impeachment trial of a senator, Jose Lopez. Lopez represents the Class of 2024.
In an interview Saturday, Edwards explained the situation.
“We have a senator who has led to a point where we now need to call the impeachment process,” he said.
SGA’s constitution calls for a public meeting at which both the SGA and the individual at risk for impeachment plead their cases. There will be two additional public meetings, one on Thursday, March 4, and another on March 11, to serve as impeachment trial dates for Lopez. SGA members will officially vote to begin the impeachment process at the March 4 meeting. The next meeting will host the actual trial.
“At that meeting, the vice president of internal affairs is going to explain and provide detail on Sen. Jose Lopez’s strikes and negligence of office that led to this impeachment trial,” Edwards said. “At this meeting, Sen. Lopez will be able to represent himself before the rest of the Senate and Executive Leadership Committee and make their case.”
SGA uses a “Three Strike Policy” which lists what parameters in which senators must abide. Senators may receive strikes for failing to alert SGA officials of a meeting absence 24 hours before the meeting, failing to submit typed minutes from committee meetings and failing to attend the required number of public relations events each semester.
The SGA will then publicly vote on the status of Lopez’s impeachment, according to Edwards.
Washington and Clarence Johnson, who serves as vice president of internal affairs, both emphasized the process SGA goes through before reaching impeachment.
“The internal affairs committee has a disciplinary board that reviews the case-by-case basis and they make a decision. It is not only made up of senators, but also at-large members of the student body. Vice president Johnson works with the committee — there is a process that we do,” Washington said.
Johnson added, “Senators have the option to appeal strikes. They must contact the vice president of internal affairs within 24 hours after receiving it [the strike]. They present themself and their case, then the internal affairs committee will review it and make a decision.”
Johnson said these strikes could include the absence at a mandatory meeting or event or failing to attend a minimum number of public relations events.
During the meeting, Chase Slenker, Class of 2023 senator and committee member, motioned to keep the activity fee the same for the 2021-22 fiscal year. Slenker said the fee is currently $272. There was no vote due to SGA member absences.
When asked about the motion, Washington said, “The budget and finance component, that will be looked over and reviewed over by the ELC.”
The ELC will make a decision, have a private conversation with the full SGA and inform the student body, according to Washington.
“As far as the other matters such as committee appointments, those will not be made by the Executive Leadership Committee. Those will wait and move forward at the next public meeting,” Washington said.
The next regular SGA meeting is scheduled for March 11 at 4 p.m. on Zoom.