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Last week, the Associated Students of Colorado State University senate moved forward in its impeachment of President Josh Silva. The initial charge of impeachment came from Silva’s supposed violation of the ASCSU constitution when he entered into negotiations with the Wall Street Journal over campus-wide distribution of their materials. Senator Cerridwyn Nordstrom, who submitted the impeachment petition, also asserted that Silva went against the student government Code of Ethics.
Josh Silva has remained resolute that he did not violate any legal or ethical guidelines. Giving Silva the benefit of the doubt, and after reading the text of the ASCSU constitution, I initially believed he was correct. However, 26 percent of student senators believe the newly elected president was in the wrong.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who was confused by news of this impeachment. Who is the student body supposed to believe, with seemingly contradictory information such as this? If at first glance, Silva seemed to have adhered to constitutional and ethical guidelines, why the push for impeachment?
To an outsider, it might look like nothing more than a witch-hunt. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the grounds for allegations were valid. More importantly, the impeachment proceedings demonstrate ASCSU’s devotion to upholding constitutional and ethical guidelines.
ASCSU representatives told the Collegian that the proposal with the WSJ was only in negotiation; nothing had been signed and funds had not been dispensed. Yet, according to their website, ASCSU is already asserting that students will have digital, and some print, access to the WSJ. To this extent, Josh Silva was in violation of the aforementioned section of the Code of Ethics, which states, “Officials shall make no unauthorized commitments or promises of any kind purporting to bind ASCSU.” Because Silva did not yet have senatorial approval through a Supplementary Funding Bill, he can not rightfully make the claim that the WSJ deal had gone through.
This impeachment is a testament to the all-too-common murkiness of politics. The Senate claims one thing, the President claims another, and the people are left to pick a side. Many have begun to believe that no politician can be trusted.
Perhaps this is why ASCSU, a relatively small body, seems to take everything so seriously. These individuals respect the ethics upon which democratic bodies are supposed to be founded. Not only does ASCSU stress the importance of diversity, inclusivity and egalitarianism, but it avows “appropriately shared responsibility and joint effort involving the administration, faculty, and students” and “reasoned discussion as the means of solving problems,” according to their constitution.
When Josh Silva entered into discussions with the Wall Street Journal, even though they were mere talks, he was violating certain parameters of the body he represents. Thus, the grounds for impeachment are valid.
At times, ASCSU may seem to take itself too seriously. But, its members may someday be politicians on a state or national level. If so, I hope they maintain the same degree of morality and devotion to serving in the public’s interest, even if it means holding impeachment sessions for minor infractions. In today’s opaque political waters, we need transparency more than ever, and it seems that is what the ASCSU senate is trying to achieve.
Lauren Willson can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @LaurenKealani