Direction of Student Government Association uncertain with loss of leader
By Danielle Marsh | firstname.lastname@example.org
After a failed attempt by students to impeach Student Government President Brandon Collins, Student Services has relieved him of his duties.
In an official letter delivered to Collins by Assistant Dean of Student Services Dirk Hibler, the main reason for his removal was “a lack of leadership.”
Upon receiving notice of his removal, Collins wrote an appeal letter to the Dean of Student Services Dan Stewart. His appeal was denied.
Collins is currently in the middle of an appeals process with President William T. Abare Jr. A decision should be made around Dec. 5 or 6.
“It caught me off guard,” Collins said, adding the removal “was unexpected coming from such a good friend.”
When Collins asked Hibler what “a lack of leadership” meant, he said no answer was given. Stewart and Hibler would not comment on the issue.
In his letter of appeal to Abare, Collins wrote, “I question the ability of the advisor to remove an officer that is not related to grades or any acts that relates to the student not being in good standing with the college.”
There were “some concerns when he assumed the presidential position,” Abare said.
Abare also mentioned that during Collins’ presidency there were some issues that arose between Collins and the administration. Abare would not go into details on either issue, but said this is a “very serious” matter and he doesn’t want to make an “arbitrary” decision.
Abare is unsure if he will appoint a hearing board or deal with the issue himself. He will, however, conduct an evaluation to determine what led to his dismissal and “whether or not it is warranted.”
Earlier in the year, Collins had a run-in with Stewart about the interpretation of the SGA Constitution with regard to changing policies. He said he was told to “drop the issue without any debate.”
Collins says in his letter to Abare, “If I do not have the right as SGA President to question the policies … without being afraid of losing my position as president, the president is no more than a figurehead.”
Junior Devin Vache questions why SGA isn’t working together. “They are all there to support one another and if that doesn’t work, you have what we have now,” Vache said.
Collins points to the lack of support from the administration. “I have felt little or no support from Student Services this year and feel like they have taken sides with other people who they might have wanted as president,” Collins said.
While waiting for Abare’s decision, Collins said, “I am growing further apart from SGA and my peers. They are moving on and I’m stuck in limbo.”
Until a decision is made, Kaitlyn Mairs is the acting SGA President. She declined to comment on her new position or the issue.
This is not the first occasion Collins’ leadership skills were questioned. On Oct. 16 two members of the SGA leadership team, Grant Gillenwater and Richard Harris, tried to set a petition to impeach Collins. Gillenwater and Harris were the other two candidates who ran against Collins for president.
When they presented their petition to the student body, Gillenwater and Harris were forced to end their presentation early due to the uproar from students.
“From the very beginning it’s been this power struggle,” Collins said. “This year has been nothing but politics and it hasn’t been beneficial for the students.”