This week in Senate: Senator accuses e-board of unprofessionalism during executive session
In the final meeting of the Undergraduate Student Association (USA) for the semester on Tuesday evening, controversy ensued.
The Senate went into executive session to potentially vote out sophomore senator Rami Daham for excessive absences, over the allowable three absences for the school year.
In the end, Daham was not voted out of the senate, which required a super-majority, two-thirds vote. The issue was brought up by the e-board of the USA under the “negligence clause” in the USA’s constitution.
“The individual exceeded the number of permitted absences as outlined in the constitution,” said Justin Brown, the spokesperson for the Undergraduate Student Association.
However, Daham states that the USA did not follow their own constitution and accuses the process of being “unprofessional.” Daham alleges that there were senators who knew what was going on, even though they were not supposed to know and only select senators knew about the process. In addition, Daham said that senators were not allowed to deliberate before a vote. He said that he was given two minutes to state his case and no questions were allowed before he was asked to leave the room for a vote. He also says that senators were “blindsided” by what was happening.
In the USA’s constitution, Daham says there is nothing stating that they do have to tell him that the clause will be invoked; however, there is also nothing that says they are not allowed to. Daham says that the process of doing that is at the discretion of the e-board. He also accuses the e-board of having an ulterior motive, as well as the fact that the script for the speaker of the senate only had an option for saying that Daham was removed.
“It was very clearly shown that the e-board and the people involved in this process were very keen on removing me, I would say,” Daham told The Griffin on Thursday.
In addition, he says that the charges against him are false. The Senate “pushed” four and a half unexcused absences, where Daham said he only had two and a half and that the other two had been excused by Brown and Zoey Maggiore, the advisor for the USA. Additionally, he said that those absences are only for being “two or three” minutes late after he missed the calling of attendance at the beginning of the meeting.
“Yes, they already called my name, but they were willing to impeach me based off of three minutes of absences when with all my questions and the conversations I bring to the floor. While some don’t agree with it, it’s still very constructive conversation and anybody can attest to that,” Daham said. “If they’re worried about three minutes, I’ve added that.”
The “negligence clause” has not been invoked in at least two years, according to Brown.
“With how quickly it was all pushed through and how rushed the speaking and the tonality, just how everything was being pushed, it just spoke to a very unprofessional level,” Daham said.
Outside of the executive session, appeals for Fusion, CrescenDONT’S, C-Block and ASA were approved. As it was the last meeting of the semester, sophomore Senator Sean O’Brien resigned due to a class conflict in the spring, while junior Senator Ariana Afshani resigned due to a study abroad opportunity.