The Student Association Senate has voted to summon the Articles of Impeachment against SA President Michael Kimmer after a deliberation at Wednesday night’s Senate meeting with members of the Executive Council.
The Executive Council proposed the articles be served after Kimmer had allegedly violated several articles of the SA constitution. It was brought to the Senate, which then voted to pass it along to the Student Court.
Kimmer was not present at Wednesday night’s Senate meeting, as he is lobbying Congress in the District of Columbia to support federal funding for student loans.
After members of the Executive Council read their initial statements, Plattsburgh State Vice President for Student Affairs Bryan Hartman read a letter to the Senate that Kimmer wrote as his defense.
The Executive Council presented its argument, stating Kimmer had violated the SA constitution more than once this semester. They said Kimmer had shown “great disrespect” to members of the Executive Council and the SA as a whole.
Kimmer was accused of breaking Article V of the SA constitution, “Duties of the President,” in which he is deemed responsible for being the “official spokesperson” for the SA.
Members of the Senate raised the question of what it means to be a “spokesperson,” as it is not clearly defined in the constitution.
Executive Council members took turns sharing stories testing Kimmer’s character as president, noting several instances where he acted “unprofessionally” during Executive Council meetings and at on-campus events.
Members also said Kimmer overstepped his boundaries as president by taking on roles of other vice presidents.
SA Vice President of Activities Brenden Husted said Kimmer’s concert ideas fall under his responsibilities, and Husted said he has often felt pressured by Kimmer to support his ideas relating to a proposed concert.
SA Vice President of Student Affairs Arin Cotel-Altman said some of her responsibilities aim to promote political advocacy on campus, and she said she felt Kimmer overstepped his boundaries by conducting tabling events in the Angell College Center relating to the upcoming presidential election.
The Executive Council also accused Kimmer of breaking Article XIV, which relates to hazing.
The SA constitution states: “Hazing is considered to be the interference with personal liberty of others. It includes, but is not limited to, the following: Any act of domination by some students over others possibly resulting in injury, emotional disturbance, physical discomfort and/or humiliation.” The group shared experiences in which Kimmer had caused them “physical discomfort,” “emotional disturbance” and “humiliation,” by using “acts of dominance.”
In several meetings, Kimmer allegedly shouted at members of the council when faced with a difference of opinion, particularly involving his idea of an on-campus concert and SA fee increases.
He was also cited by the Executive Council for allegedly “shouting” at members of the Senate at last week’s Senate meeting and sending “inappropriate” emails as he was “disappointed” in their behavior.
Throughout her testimony, Cotel-Altman choked back tears, explaining the ways in which she felt “attacked” by Kimmer.
Vice President of Clubs and Organizations Taeko Kelly said Kimmer had shouted at her for 30 minutes, while alone in the SA office, after a meeting for “personally attacking” his surveying methods in regard to the on-campus concert.
Lastly, the Executive Council accused Kimmer of breaking Article XII of the constitution, regarding the improper removal of Vice President of Finance Ryan Ferguson from office, last January.
The matter was previously deemed unconstitutional by the Student Court in January.
Members of the Senate deliberated with the Executive Council, criticizing why the issue was being brought before them for a second time.
The council said it was previously willing to overlook the infraction, as it occurred during Kimmer’s first 30 days in office. However, the council alleged the issue became a testament to Kimmer’s “unprofessionalism” as SA president.
The Executive Council said they had given Kimmer several chances to change his “unprofessional” behavior by engaging in meetings related to communication and professionalism.
“This is our last resort,” Cotel-Altman said of meeting with the senate.
Kimmer addressed these accusations and his actions in his defense letter. Prior to the meeting, he was given the opportunity to Skype with the Senate throughout the meeting but refused. He said he could not properly justify his actions via conference call.
Kimmer said in his letter that he had verbally attacked others, but it was “tied to his passion” for the SA.
He said he would “tone down his rhetoric” when communicating with members of the Executive Council and Senate.
Kimmer said that him lobbying Congress was a “strong voice” for SUNY, making him a “spokesperson” for the SA.
As for the hazing accusations, Kimmer said he is the one who feels “emotionally disturbed” and “physically harmed,” as he was given less than 24 hours’ notice of the summons of the Articles of Impeachment. He said he was physically sick leading up to Wednesday’s meeting and felt anxious because he could not be at the meeting to properly represent himself.
He said he felt helpless in this matter and urged the Senate to reconsider summoning the impeachment articles.
Kimmer claimed he never “physically attacked” members of the Executive Council, or Senate, just their words and ideas.
“The SA is my life,” Kimmer said in his letter.
Email Marissa Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org