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CSU student body president faces third impeachment attempt, harassment and verbal abuse accusations surface

A third impeachment petition against Student Body President Josh Silva was brought forward by the student government senate Wednesday night, but it leaves out the accusations of harassment and discrimination that were included, but not read aloud, in the last attempt of impeachment.


ASCSU student body president Josh Silva listens to the ASCSU senate discuss the impeachment process on Sept. 22, 2017. (Tony Villalobos May | Collegian)

After the senate body tried to call an executive session during its second attempt of impeachment to keep the violations private, the petition filed Sept. 13 was obtained by the Collegian through an open records request. The petition claims that Silva harassed and verbally abused members of the executive branch, deleted and concealed emails and files in attempt to obstruct impeachment proceedings, and had a consensual relationship that caused a lack of respect for others in the executive branch.

Sen. Cerridwyn Nordstrom filed all three complaints on behalf of several members, but according to Silva, Nordstrom has no firsthand knowledge of the harassment.

“(The complainant) doesn’t have any knowledge of these instances occurring,” Silva said. “It’s, at this point, merely word of mouth and screenshots of texts and emails that are open to interpretation.”

According to Silva, the screenshots of messages were taken out of context. And, he said he is unsure where the allegation that he deleted and concealed emails came from.

“I don’t even know how they would have access to (my ASCSU presidential email) in the first place,” Silva said. “I have no clue what concealment or deletion of emails would entail in their minds. To my knowledge, I have not concealed (or) deleted emails.”

Silva would not comment on the claim of his consensual relationship within the ASCSU office, but said he has tried to find ways to help the executive branch work better together under the pressures of the investigation and impeachment process.

Members of ASCSU who were directly involved with the accusations made against Silva could not be reached for comment. 

The Office of Equal Opportunity initiated its own investigation of the harassment claims made against Silva last week. At the time, it postponed the impeachment process because the organization was instructed that it could not conduct a dual investigation of the same complaint while the University was involved. The new petition for impeachment removes the violations that would have been considered a dual investigation. 

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Nineteen senators signed the petition brought forward Wednesday night, which is over the 20 percent threshold needed to start the impeachment process.

Nordstrom said she filed the petition as a third party and was not bringing forward the petitions for any political motives.

“It’s not about the politics, it’s about the process,” Nordstrom said. “It’s about transparency and being able to be transparent. This isn’t any ill-will against Josh at all. This is just about being accountable.”

Nordstrom told the senate body that the initial petition was filed because she noticed that the work environment was unhealthy.

“(There was) yelling in the office and the slamming of doors, jobs being threatened, harassment in the form of numerous phone calls at two in the morning 17 times in a row when individuals were trying to sleep,” Nordstrom said. “People were afraid to be in the office, they were afraid to be around (Silva) and they were too afraid to speak up.”

People were afraid to be in the office, they were afraid to be around (Silva) and they were too afraid to speak up.” Sen. Cerridwyn Nordstrom

Sen. Connor Cheadle, who signed the petition, said it was brought forward to highlight injustices within ASCSU. 

“(There are) clear problems with his behavior in concurrence with our Constitution,” Cheadle said. “We don’t want to hide anything. We don’t know what we can or we can’t say. We don’t know what we can express because we don’t know if it’s legal or not. We’re trying to cooperate in the correct way and do this in the correct channels, so it’s fair to everyone and we can have a fair and honest investigation, and it can come back to us, and we can make a decision.”

Cheadle said he has no firsthand knowledge of the harassment claims, but he has heard of instances from people directly affected by the impeachment process.

“I don’t know many of the specifics, but I do know there’s clear violations financially with the articles that (Sen. Nordstrom) read off and clear violations of our ethics code,” Cheadle said. “I’ve seen a couple things – kind of secondhand, kind of vaguely – but a lot of it is coming privately from a lot of people who I don’t want to expose because it would be unfair to them, and it would be unfair to this process.”

Sen. Cerridwyn Nordstrom refiles an impeachment against student body Josh Silva on Sept. 27, 2017. The impeachment states that Silva has violated the ASCSU Constitution and ASCSU Code of Ethics on multiple occasions. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

Nordstrom said Silva acted unprofessionally on several occasions, such as showing up intoxicated to the office on Sept. 20 after the senate’s session. This instance was noted in the new impeachment petition. Silva confirmed that he did go to the Ramskeller, CSU’s on-campus pub, but he said that does not indicate he was intoxicated.

“I went to the Skeller, and I’ll be honest about that. Does that mean I was drunk? No, and that’s where I’m going to draw a hard line,” Silva said. “When it extends from procedure to personal accusations about character, such as personal conduct and actions, those are not things that I take lightly. Those are not things that I think we should tolerate.”

At the first ASCSU senate session of the school year, Sen. Nordstrom brought forth an impeachment petition against Silva, citing violations of the ASCSU Constitution and Bill of Rights for negotiating a contract to bring the Wall Street Journal to campus without the knowledge or approval of the Senate body. The other violations, which sparked the OEO investigation, were not included in the first draft of the impeachment. 

“This is a situation where we need someone unbiased to look at it, and we just want to get to that point,” Nordstrom said. “This isn’t about hurting Josh. This isn’t about anything like that. This is just about making sure that the process is done correctly.”

Collegian news reporter Abby Currie contributed to this report. Collegian news director Haley Candelario can be reached at or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.

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