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ASG holds impeachment hearing, passes Freedom Summer remembrance bill

<p>After Joshua Kennedy and his witnesses&#x27; testimony, senate voted not to impeach him.</p>

After Joshua Kennedy and his witnesses' testimony, senate voted not to impeach him.

Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) failed to impeach an on-campus senator at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 29. 

The oversight committee filed articles of impeachment against On-Campus Senator Joshua Kennedy on Oct. 27. Kennedy had accumulated 11 total points, which is ASG’s internal way of holding senators accountable for their attendance. Senators are given points for missing meetings and other mandatory events. Receiving ten points is grounds for impeachment. 

Kennedy didn’t attend the inclusion forum on Sept. 18, which was required for all senators. He hasn’t attended his weekly office hours all semester and missed one senate meeting without providing prior notice or arranging for an alternate. He also missed four out of five total meetings of the two committees he is a member of. 

Speaker Pro Tempore Victoria Villanueva had previously emailed Kennedy to notify him that he had accumulated a large number of points and offered to set up a meeting. Kennedy never responded. 

“It's not as bad as it looks; there's always more to the story,” Kennedy said of his record during his impeachment hearing. 

Kennedy’s uncle died before the semester began, and his grandpa was recently diagnosed with cancer. He said these were the reasons he missed so many meetings. 

Kennedy acknowledged that he should have notified someone prior to missing the meetings and said if he were allowed to stay in ASG, he would do better. 

“If I didn't care about the senate, I wouldn't be speaking in front of it because it's kind of hard to do, but I feel like if I didn’t speak and resigned, I wouldn't be doing my job,” Kennedy said. 

After struggling through part of his speech, Kennedy became nervous and said he couldn’t go on. Secretary for Diversity and Inclusion Brandon Small came forward and read the rest of the speech. 

After Small finished speaking, Kennedy called him as one of his witnesses. 

Small called himself an empathetic person and implored the senate to give Kennedy another chance. Then he spoke directly to Kennedy. 

“If they do decide to give you a second chance, you need to do better,” Small said. “You need to hold yourself accountable.”

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After debate, the senate voted to acquit Kennedy. 

Later, Academic Senator Vada Stephens presented a resolution which would rename the lounge spaces in Beechwoods, Hillcrest and Stonebridge Halls after Freedom Summer activists Micheal Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman. 

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman were part of a group of 800 volunteers who gathered at Western College for Women in 1964 for training before going to Mississippi to register African Americans to vote. Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman were killed by Klansmen shortly after arriving in Mississippi. 

Stephens and the other sponsors of the bill see renaming the lounge spaces as a way to remember these men. Artwork and plaques will be placed in the lounges depicting these men and other events or figures from the Civil Rights Movement. 

“There are numerous powerful stories that sit on our campus, yet an overarching privileged mindset consumes the campus, practically ignoring the history of marginalized communities,” Stephens said. 

During debate time for the bill, ASG members expressed support and concern that many members of the Miami community don’t know about Freedom Summer. 

“This is such a critical moment that happened in American history, and the fact that we just tuck it away and that Miami only appropriates that history when it benefits itself is just disgusting; it’s disgusting,” said Parliamentarian Adrian Radilla. 

The bill passed unanimously. Small said President Gregory Crawford has already expressed support for the initiative. The Board of Trustees will vote on the name change at its meeting in December, and, if approved, it will be implemented in the spring. 

Senators also elected Tatum Moleski as a College of Arts and Science hard science senator. Moleski is a senior but said she was running because she was sexually assaulted earlier this semester and wants to make changes with how the university deals with assault reports. 

An ad-hoc committee called the Associated Student Government Operational Study Committee

also formed to study ASG’s operations. An ad-hoc committee is a temporary committee formed to complete a specific purpose. 

Last year, there was an unsuccessful attempt to restructure executive cabinet. The ad-hoc committee is tasked with auditing ASG’s positions and efficiency to essentially determine if structural reform is necessary, said Parliamentarian Adrian Radilla. 

The committee was approved and will report back at the end of the semester. It will be chaired by On-Campus Senator Ryan Barr.