Motion filed to investigate MUSG President Kouhel for impeachment
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A Marquette University Student Government senator filed a motion to investigate President Adam Kouhel for impeachment last Monday.
The “Petition for Appeal and Justice,” addressed to the MUSG judicial administrator cited two specific instances where Kouhel is accused of violating MUSG’s constitution. The first deals with Student Organization Funding for the fall and the other during a Dec. 5 senate meeting. Both occurred when Kouhel was serving as executive vice president last fall.
In an affidavit obtained by the Marquette Wire, two MUSG senators said Kouhel cut funds to five student organizations after the budget had been approved and voted on by the SOF Committee. One of the senators has since removed his or her name from the document.
Kouhel said the charges against him are false. He said they did vote on the reduction and reallocation of funds.
“Every decision that we made was voted on, no decision made was by one person, or made maliciously,” he said. “Every decision made was because of our budget.”
The cuts stated in the impeachment letter were said to be made after the vote, but before organizations were contacted with how much money they were allocated.
“We don’t randomly slash budgets, we definitely stay away from that,” Allie Bitz, a junior and MUSG senator for the College of Arts & Sciences, said. “If we are over budget, it is always a discussion with the committee and our advisor.”
The five organizations are Model U.N., Mardi Gras, Youth Empowered in the Struggle, Mazaa and Bayanihan Student Organization, which were cut by a total of $8,824.65. Google Spreadsheets show Kouhel was the last person to make changes before organizations were informed how much they were allocated.
“The changes in amounts granted to student organizations were not approved with a vote by the Student Organizations Funding Committee, and thus are not constitutionally valid,” the motion for impeachment states.
As EVP, Kouhel served as chair of the SOF Committee. He denies the accusation that he made changes without anyone knowing.
“It’s weird they were the only five (organizations) listed. I can’t comment why they picked those specific organizations to focus on (in the affidavit).” He said. “We did reallocate to many other organizations other than just those five.”
Previous administrations have made percent reductions across every club to meet the budget, often cutting a small amount from every organization. This year, the five mentioned organizations were allegedly cut significantly to meet the budget.
Kouhel said a percent reduction for all clubs could not be done because of an influx of funding requests. The requests for funds were significantly higher this year when compared to previous years. “We were put in a situation we weren’t prepared for,” he said.
The MUSG president said he believes the motives of the senators who filed this letter was because student government elections are approaching.
“No senator, MUSG executive member, SOF board member or student at large raised any concern about the decisions that were made,” he said. “Why didn’t these conversations, or even a dialogue with the SOF Committee members occur earlier? The timing is suspicious to me and a lot of other people.”
Bitz said the MUSG Constitution “doesn’t necessarily have specificities” regarding percent reductions or cutting the SOF funding of individual clubs.
“It is important to note that these reductions were not made through the traditional ‘price reduction’ method, but rather through a haphazard decision which we felt was unfair to the student organizations affected,” the affidavit said.
“Everything we do is through the (SOF) committee,” Bitz said. “From assigning out percent reductions to finding out how much money we have in the first place, everything is voted on by the committee. There is no way that one person could decide to go off and do what they want.”
All the organizations cut were either service or culture based. The Bayanihan Student Organization released an official statement to the Wire on the subject.
“We, as an executive board, respected the funding given to us by MUSG, and have made efforts to try and accommodate this. We have launched a variety of funding initiatives to accommodate the loss of expected funding we hoped MUSG would provide. As one of Marquette’s largest and most diverse student organizations, we were initially surprised to only receive one-third of the funding we requested from MUSG.”
The Wire was denied access to the SOF Committee meeting minutes where funding was discussed.
“I am trying to push to make those (SOF meeting minutes) public,” Blake Ruppe, a sophomore and senator for the College of Communication, said. “What I have been very dissatisfied within MUSG is the lack of transparency. (Organizations) have the right to know what went down during the voting period.”
The other reasoning for impeachment said Kouhel removed a reserve fund allocation vote from the night’s agenda. Meeting minutes confirm the removal, but do not specify why.
The motion accuses Kouhel of perjury for stating that removing the vote was due to respecting the senate’s time, not its failure to pass the Budget Committee. The Wire was unable to confirm this claim.
“While the minutes don’t have my language word for word, it had nothing to do with saving or respecting senate’s time, but rather that I took into consideration the budget committee’s concerns and that I wanted to reevaluate the legislation,” Kouhel said.
According to Article XII of the MUSG Constitution, “any member of MUSG may submit a request for impeachment to the Judicial Administrator for consideration by the senate.”
Anne Sorensen, a junior in the College of Communication, is the current judicial administrator. Sorensen forwarded the motion to the business administration chair, who will bring the evidence before the senate, where a two-thirds vote will be necessary to investigate Kouhel. If passed, a second senate vote will need a three-fourths vote to convict Kouhel.
If impeached, Kouhel will have 10 class days to file an appeal according to Article XIII Section 6 of the MUSG Constitution.