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ASG votes to censure senator-at-large

ASG voted to censure At-Large Senator Ethan Stack (pictured) for unprofessional conduct during the student trustee search.
ASG voted to censure At-Large Senator Ethan Stack (pictured) for unprofessional conduct during the student trustee search.

Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) heard articles of impeachment against At-Large Senator Ethan Stack at its Nov. 16 meeting.

Stack contacted a member of the student trustee search committee, which is tasked with evaluating student applicants for Miami’s Board of Trustees, and expressed his support for a particular candidate. He also contacted the two current student trustees about the candidate and informed the candidate via voicemail that he had reached out to members of the committee.

The articles of impeachment drafted by ASG’s oversight committee accused Stack of violating the Code of Love and Honor by acting in an unprofessional manner and attempting to use his position to seek special consideration for the candidate.

When considering articles of impeachment, senators have two options of sanctions to impose: censure and dismissal. Censure is merely a formal disapproval of the senator’s actions, while dismissal involves removing the senator from ASG. 

Because student trustee searches only take place once per year, the oversight committee recommended censure rather than dismissal.

Stack apologized to senate and said he had considered resigning, but that he felt that would have been the easy way out. 

“I intend to learn from this and recommit myself to the work we’re doing for the campus community,” Stack said.

During ASG’s Oct. 19 meeting, Stack unsuccessfully ran for a position on the student trustee search committee. Director of Transgender Equity & Inclusion Evan Gates asked whether he ran for that position with the intention of helping this candidate get selected.

Stack said he did not run for that specific reason, but he admitted he may have had a subconscious bias in favor of the candidate if he were elected.

Gates also raised a concern about the oversight committee’s assessment that Stack’s conduct was an isolated incident because he had been a member of ASG since fall of 2020 and should have known better.

“You’ve been on ASG since September of last year, so you already understand what rules and precedents are in place,” Gates said. “I’m concerned that this behavior doesn’t make sense if it wasn’t something the candidate asked you to do.”

Stack reiterated his remorse for his actions and said he had a temporary lapse in judgment that he would not repeat.

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Senator Ryan Parker asked Stack whether he would have realized that his actions were wrong had the issue not been raised to the oversight committee, and Stack admitted he may not have.

“I suppose if I was not up for censure, I would have been given the opportunity to, over a longer period of time, look back and potentially see that this was wrong for me to do,” Stack said, “but [I] probably would not have [realized] as quickly.”

ASG voted to approve the articles of impeachment and formally censure Stack.

ASG also passed a bill, authored by Parliamentarian Omar Elghazawi and Senators Eli Davies, Daniel Pollock and Harrison Crone, to reduce the frequency of special elections.

ASG’s bylaws previously stated that special elections must be held any time there are five open senate seats, which has already occurred twice this semester. According to the text of the bill, the only recent semester in which more than two special elections have been held was last semester, during which student organization participation was lower than usual due to COVID.

The bill limits the number of special elections that can be automatically triggered by excessive vacancies to two per semester. ASG’s elections committee can hold additional elections in addition to those two if it feels it is necessary, though.

The bill passed unanimously.

ASG will not meet next week due to Thanksgiving break. Its last meeting of the semester will be at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30 in the Joslin Senate Chamber.