Graphic by Corrina Reiss
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Dear Butler community,
On March 22, Hadassah Brent, a Student Government Association senator running for SGA executive leadership, gave this statement at the SGA Presidential and Vice Presidential Debate:
“The role of vice president requires you to be reliable, approachable and trustworthy. I remember being a new senator. I remember being confused because I didn’t have much support. The training I received was below average, and I only felt like I could reach out to one other senator. As VP, I will ensure that none of our SGA representatives ever have to feel as I did: unprepared and unconfident due to the lack of leadership. As student leaders, it is our job to make sure that every student is equipped with what they need in order to be successful on campus; we are the leaders that can make that happen.”
Within 24 hours of making this statement, a petition for impeachment was filed against Hadassah. In SGA, impeachment and subsequent conviction mean an individual cannot serve in or run for any other leadership position within SGA for the remainder of their time at Butler.
Article 5, Section 7 of the SGA Constitution states that, “Members of the Student Senate may be impeached for gross neglect of duty.” On April 10, due to her pending impeachment and the proximity to finals, Hadassah felt pressured to resign to focus on her studies and mental health. With this, she forfeited her status as a member of SGA. Even so, the Senate chose to continue with the impeachment proceedings.
As a result, on April 12, three weeks after the impeachment petition was submitted and after losing the election for vice president, the SGA Senate voted to impeach Hadassah from her Senate position based on three absences — as cited in the petition — from Senate meetings this semester.
During the impeachment, Hadassah’s trial was compared to the real U.S. government impeaching “a rather orange president.” Her absences, which Hadassah said were due to miscommunications, led some senators to characterize her as someone who doesn’t show up for students.
We assert that they wanted to humiliate her. In doing so, they aimed not only to remove her from her seat but to keep her from running for any SGA position in the future — which would be incredibly convenient.
At one point, we both felt like we couldn’t make the change we wanted on our campus without SGA, but just days ago, SGA sent a clear message: they don’t want us to.
And to keep us from doing so, they attack our qualifications and leadership.
There are bigger issues at play than titles, and Hadassah can no longer be a part of the conversation in SGA because of coordinated actions taken against her.
We wish our new president and vice president good luck in their endeavors; we’ve formed a relationship with this new administration, and we hope this leads to changes both of our teams can be proud of.
But until then, we’re urging a conversation: is SGA really maintaining an accurate representation of our campus?
Known vendettas. Ulterior motives. A fear of those who speak up.
Stay connected with Hadassah as she plans to amplify student voices like she’s promised. Thank you to everyone who has given us support these last few weeks.
Paul Ford II and Hadassah Brent