Vice President of Services Ernesto Hernandez was found nonfeasant Friday based on statutes in the USGD bylaws after collecting more than the six absence points needed for impeachment.
Hernandez accumulated seven absence points by missing a President’s meeting, several Executive Board meetings and the mandatory service event Devils in Disguise.
Hernandez also collected two out of the five strikes allowed after missing deadlines for an Accountability Report Form and a blog post. Director of Finance Vanessa Herb said in addition that Hernandez failed to hold the required number of Sun Devil Coalition meetings and submitted several funding requests for events after the events had occurred.
Hernandez was also found nonfeasant last year when he was a senator from the College of Public Service and Community Solutions after he failed to turn in half of his weekly action reports and meet the student feedback quota on the $5 student fee increase.
Chief of Staff Jade Yeban informed Hernandez of his accumulating absences throughout the year. Hernandez was asked by President Jackson Dangremond to resign, but he refused.
“I stayed in the organization because we have about three weeks left, and I really don’t think that there is a need for me to leave,” Hernandez said. “Even if I did leave I would still be connecting with the students as just a student leader in general.”
In response, Dangremond, Yeban and Senate President Case Smith submitted Senate Resolution 22 to hold an impeachment hearing for Hernandez. After several senators voiced apprehension about the impeachment and said the process was not transparent enough, the agenda was changed to a discussion about nonfeasance.
“Never were we as senators notified that there were issues or things not being done or duties not being completed,” Cronkite Senator Bryce Newberry said. “Looking at the bylaws for Vice President Hernandez’s job description he’s done a pretty darn good job.”
Other senators supported Newberry’s assertions and agreed Hernandez’s success as Vice President of Services was more important than his absences.
Hernandez took full responsibility for the nonfeasance but said despite his absences he still remained committed to the students he was representing.
“I still meet with our student organization leaders regularly. I still meet with our deans regularly,” Hernandez said. “When I see students on Taylor Mall, they come to me with questions any time of day and they’re like, ‘Hey, I don’t know how to request funding for this’ or ‘I don’t know how to reserve space for our event.’ And then and there I’ll give them an answer and if I’m not able to answer them I will give them my card and I will look into it for them. So always representing our students and assisting them 24/7.”
Several Executive Board members said no matter the value Hernandez brings to the organization he violated the bylaws and must be held accountable to the rules the organization created and agreed upon to govern themselves.
“It does take moral courage to stand up for our bylaws, and it does take ethical strength to abide by the very rules we’ve created,” Yeban said. “If we don’t abide by this, why have any at all?”
Dangremond said he doubts an impeachment will occur. He also said the process revealed the need of USGD to improve their disciplinary procedures.
“I definitely think we have our work cut out for us in terms of improving our disciplinary procedures and ensuring our members are equipped to hold all of student government’s members, whether appointed or elected official, accountable for the action that they’ve taken,” Dangremond said.
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