McIivain and Ferone sued USG to clarify the process for dismissing USG officials.  (MANJU SHIVACHARAN / THE STATESMAN)
McIivain and Ferone sued USG to clarify the process for dismissing USG officials. (MANJU SHIVACHARAN / THE STATESMAN)

The Undergraduate Student Government senate was briefed in its meeting Thursday evening on a judiciary case in which two executive council members sued USG over its process for removing officials from office.

USG Vice President of Communications Mario Ferone and Treasurer Brian McIlvain sued USG in order to clarify whether USG officials can be automatically dismissed for falling below the grade point average minimum requirement to hold office.

This past semester, the USG executive council was notified that one executive council member and two senators had fallen below the minimum GPA requirement.

According to the USG constitution, executive council members must have a minimum GPA of 2.75, and senators must have a minimum GPA of 2.5.

The executive council voted not to impeach the senators and the senate voted not to impeach the executive council member. However, an administrator inquired about whether the members in question could be automatically dismissed without impeachment.

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The names of the students and the administrator in question were not made known to the judiciary because of the sensitive nature of GPAs, Chief Justice Sarah Twarog said. The judiciary brief states that the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act upholds the privacy of student education records. Ferone also declined to give the names of the students to The Statesman.

The judiciary ruled on April 19 that the only way in which an official can be dismissed by USG is through impeachment. Therefore any automatic dismissal not in the form of impeachment would be unconstitutional.

According to the USG constitution, an executive council member may only be impeached by a three-fourths vote of the filled seats of the senate, and a senate member may only be impeached by a three-fourths vote of the filled seats of the executive council.

The judiciary could not rule, however, on whether the university’s administration can automatically dismiss a member of USG for GPA infractions.

The judiciary cited the 2010 case USG v. Daniel A. Graber, which established that the executive council cannot create alternate disciplinary actions against a senator in lieu of impeachment.

At the Thursday meeting, the senate also unanimously voted to pass the Full Disclosure Amendment to the Election Bylaws.

The amendment, which was proposed by Sen. Gibryon Bhojraj, changed the deadline for submitting rosters for party coalitions to the same deadline for submitting petitions to run for office. It also set the deadline for submitting party bylaws to the same deadline for submitting forms of intent to run for office.

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The election board must then send approved party bylaws to the vice president of communications or USG’s webmaster to be published on USG’s website and social media.

The amendment comes after the April 11 election in which every executive council candidate ran unopposed and all but two senatorial candidates ran under the Actual Party.

The text of the amendment refers to low voter turnout, a Statesman editorial titled “Unfair elections” and the fact that the USG Constitution does not mention the
formation of parties as reasons for the amendment.

Bhojraj also proposed the Overloading Amendment to the Election Bylaws, which would have required party rosters to have a number of members running for a USG position that is less than the number of seats open for that position.

Although the senate’s vote on this amendment was 7-5-2, the amendment did not receive the votes from the majority of filled senate seats needed to pass.

The senate passed two acts which established offices for the vice president of academic affairs and the vice president of clubs and organizations, thus giving the two vice presidents the authority to hire their own assistants.

The senate also passed an act that requires the Elections Board Chair and the Chief Justice to report their hours to the USG administrative director rather than the president. Sen. Vincent Justiniano said that this will prevent the president from hypothetically withholding payment from the Election Board Chair or the Chief Justice in a case of conflict with either official.

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