A new impeachment petition was brought before the student body president Josh Silva Wednesday night and listed new accusations that Silva violated his organization’s code of ethics in relation to treating others with respect and without discrimination.
The Associated Students of Colorado State University’s senate brought a new petition against Silva due to a clause in the ASCSU Constitution that requires finalized impeachment petitions to be received one week after they are submitted. The first petition was filed Aug. 30 and was due to be finalized at the Sept. 6 senate session last week. Last week’s senate meeting was cancelled and the first petition was subsequently retracted.
Senator Cerridwyn Nordstrom, the author of the original petition filed on Aug.30, submitted the new petition with the new charges. Two weeks ago, only violations regarding a proposed contract between the Wall Street Journal, ASCSU and the Colleges of Business and Liberal Arts were listed. The contract would make digital and print copies of the Wall Street Journal available to students.
Nordstrom listed a number of instances in which Silva was allegedly violation of the governing documents. The current petition states that Silva committed further violations to the ASCSU Constitution, Code of Ethics and ASCSU Bill of Rights.
The petition states Silva was in violation of the following: section 302 of the constitution, pertaining to the Wall Street Journal Contract; 106 of the ASCSU Constitution, pertaining to Silva’s alleged failure to create a job position for himself; and Amendment 3 of the ASCSU Bill of Rights, pertaining to the responsibility of all members of ASCSU to not discriminate based on: race, age, color religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veterans status, political beliefs, handicap, creed genetic information, or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The petition also claims that Silva violated the ASCSU Code of Ethics.
Nordstrom, presenter of the charges, said because the nature of the petition would deal with human resource violations, she would not be allowed to divulge the information under Title 24, Article 6, Section 402 of the Colorado Sunshine law.
Regarding the Wall Street Journal contract, Nordstrom claimed that Silva was in violation of the organization’s governing documents because he gave false information to the senate with regards to funding from ASCSU accounts, claimed to other ASCSU officials that the contract was “ready to be enacted,” and claimed that the Wall Street Journal project was already implemented in a sponsored piece published in the Collegian Aug. 30.
ASCSU officials initially considered a closed executive session, claiming that providing details about the additional charges would require discussing personnel matters. In response, Collegian Editor-in-Chief Erin Douglas said members of the press should be allowed to attend the closed session, as ASCSU is considered a body of the state under the Colorado Sunshine Law. Under the Sunshine law, all meetings with two or more members of a state public body discussing public business must be open to the public. Douglas cited legal opinion from the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
Some senators argued that ASCSU does not fall under the Sunshine Law, and due to conflicting legal opinions, the senate opted to read the titles of the accusations without details and avoid the closed session.
“ASCSU respects the Colorado Sunshine Law, the First Amendment and the importance of a free press. We also look to the press to respect the processes of ASCSU, including ASCSU’s duty to follow laws that govern individual privacy and employment matters,” Deputy Chief of Staff Baylee Lakey said in a statement.
The current petition has 13 signatures, as with the previous petition, and exceeds the 20 percent required for the process to proceed. In order for the process to continue, 20 percent of the senate must sign the petition; as there were 45 senators present at the time, the petition now has 28 percent.
Because the previous petition expired, the current petition will restart the entire impeachment process. The author of the bill has one week to alter or redact the petition, while senators may remove or add their signatures.
Silva did not say whether he felt he was not in violation of any governing documents.
“Allegations are just allegations,” Silva said. “I have (a) really deep respect for our governing documents: our bill of rights, our constitution (and) our code of ethics. I strive as much as possible to uphold that.”
Collegian news reporter Gabriel Go can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rgabrielgo.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Senator Cerridwyn Nordstrom did not divulge information about the petition under Title IX. Nordstrom was not allowed to divulge information about the petition under Title 24, Article 6, Section 402 of the Colorado Sunshine law.