In its first session of the year, the student government’s senate brought a motion to impeach its president.
A petition to impeach President Josh Silva was raised by Senator Cerridwyn Nordstrom on Wednesday night during the Associated Students of Colorado State University’s weekly meeting.
The impeachment motion comes after senators and others in ASCSU claimed Silva had violated the ASCSU Constitution when he began negotiating with the Wall Street Journal over a contract that would bring more of the company’s materials on campus.
The charges stem from a proposal called “The Wall Street Journal Academic Proposal.” Under the contract, ASCSU would pay $19,067 — 39.3 percent — of a $48,445 contract that would provide students with access to digital and print copies of the Wall Street Journal, along with affiliated academic platforms, like Canvas. Silva presented the proposal to the ASCSU senate, but did not present a bill to acquire funding.
Reading from the petition, Senator Nordstrom specifically said Silva was in violation of Section 801 of the ASCSU Constitution and Article I, Section D, Part 6 of the ASCSU Code of Ethics. Section 801 of the Constitution states “funds may be transferred between ASCSU departments by the President, only with the approval of Senate in the form of a Supplemental Funding Bill that shall be written and presented by the President.” Nordstrom would not comment after bringing forward the petition.
Article I, Section D, Part 6 of the ASCSU Code of Ethics states ASCSU officials may not make any unauthorized commitments that would bind the student body.
The proposal was drafted during the summer while senate was not in session. The proposal was already negotiated, but not signed, and funds had not yet been allocated.
Earlier during Wednesday’s session, Silva and ASCSU Vice President Michael Wells spoke about the proposal to the legislature. They apologized to the senate for not communicating their intentions thoroughly and during the presentation, Silva said he was not in violation of the Constitution.
We did not violate the Constitution. Michael and I set a really high bar for ourselves when it comes to being transparent and for a lot of people there was a feeling that we fell short of that bar.” -ASCSU President Josh Silva
“We did not violate the Constitution,” Silva said. “Michael and I set a really high bar for ourselves when it comes to being transparent and for a lot of people there was a feeling that we fell short of that bar. If there’s a protocol that was broken per se, (it would be) communicating.”
The motion to impeach came as a surprise to Silva and others who were present at the senate session. In order for the impeachment to move forward, 20 percent of all ASCSU senators must sign the charges. The petition currently has 13 signatures, which constitutes 26 percent of all senators.
“For me, it does rise to the level of impeachment due to the severity of the situation, and due to the fact that the president had gone against a constitution he swore to uphold and protect,” Senator Isaiah Martin said.
Martin said that he found out about the motion the day it was announced. Senator Martin was one of the 13 senators to sign the petition Wednesday evening.
A one-week period is given to the author in order to make any additions, changes or to retract the charges. More individuals can sign the petition or they can remove their signatures altogether during that time. An impeachment committee will be formed next week.
Silva said that he would respect the entirety of the impeachment process.
“I’ve faith in the process we have. We still have a lot of work to do,” Silva said.
Collegian reporter Gabriel Go can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rgabrielgo.