UPDATE: The Court of Impeachment, the temporary body overseeing impeachment proceedings against Student Body President Jonathan Kaufman, has recommended that Kaufman be acquitted on all charges.
The court found him not guilty of the original charge of failing to nominate an Elections Commissioner within two weeks, referencing documents showing that Kaufman had nominated third-year sociology and Russian student Cory Alpert in the allotted time period.
While the report written by the court says that Kaufman is "at least partially to blame for the failure of the elections commissioner, which he did not timely appoint," that, nonetheless, "this blame does not rise to the level that demands that President Kaufman be removed from office."
The Court also said that, while Kaufman technically broke a code requiring that all assistant elections commissioners be appointed by Oct. 1, the codes themselves were "imperfectly constructed," and should not serve as the basis of his removal from office.
The original story is reprinted as follows:
The Senate Judiciary Committee held an official impeachment hearing for Student Body President Jonathan Kaufman Wednesday evening in Russell House.
Kaufman was brought up on charges that he violated constitutional codes by failing to fill the position of Elections Commissioner by the deadline (two weeks after his March inauguration). His initial nominee, third-year Russian and sociology student Cory Alpert, was tabled by the Senate. Senator Zachary Kirby, who brought up the charges against the President, claimed that the lack of an Elections Commissioner prevents the election system as a whole from functioning properly.
“Without an Elections Commissioner, there can’t be an Elections Commission,” Kirby said.
According to Kaufman, the Elections Commissioner office has been vacant since he nominated Alpert in March because Alpert was never confirmed by the Senate. Kaufman and Attorney General Connor Mitchell disagreed over whether Kaufman fulfilled his obligation under student government codes despite the nominee never taking office.
“I took an oath to uphold the codes, and I think we’ve done that,” Kaufman said.
Kirby maintained that it is the responsibility of the President to ensure that the Elections Commissioner position is filled.
“I am not here to attack him as a human … the seat remained vacant, therefore you can’t argue that it was filled,” Kirby said.
Kaufman said that according to the codes, “It is not my job to confirm an Elections Commissioner.” His position was that his job is to nominate, and the Senate can then confirm or deny the nominee. After Alpert declined the position in late June, the executives continued searching.
While the process of finding a person for the job took longer than two weeks, the President was hit with an impeachment notice before his search was over.
“We didn’t hear anything until impeachment … Impeachment is for violating the codes, and I don’t think we did that,” Kaufman said.
The Court of Impeachment will give their recommendation of either Kaufman’s acquittal or of his removal from office at the next Senate meeting.
Before the hearing, the Student Senate confirmed a new Elections Commissioner, second-year insurance and risk management student Alexandra Badgett.