When six articles of impeachment were brought up against former Student Government President Connor Clegg, it was up to elected officials of Student Government or those appointed by elected students on the Supreme Court to determine if he was guilty.
Clegg was found not guilty on all charges unanimously. There was not a single justice who dissented on any charge. While many students disagreed with this decision as seen by subsequent protests, ultimately it was done by students in a process that allowed for student representation.
It is strange then that Dean of Students Margarita Arellano overturned the unanimous decision of the court. On appeal, she stated that she “disagrees with the Supreme Court and finds that there is sufficient evidence associated with Articles of Impeachment I through VI to warrant an order for an impeachment trial.”
However, this is a direct contradiction to the sentiment of Joanne Smith, vice president of Student Affairs, when she said the student justice system will make decisions based on conduct violations related to the case should they be found and proven.
There is confusion among the administration around whether students control their campus government or if the power truly belongs to administrators. Because Student Government exists for students and its functions along with its representatives are decided by the students; it is far more appropriate that students have the final say in Student Government. Regardless of what the decision of the Supreme Court is, it is wrong to have unelected leaders pushing out elected student leaders.
Instead of allowing the Supreme Court’s decision to stand, a decision which had no dissent, Arellano has made her opinion the only one that matters. She states in the final part of her opinion that “it is my philosophy that matters be resolved in a way that is conducive to civic discourse.” This could not be farther from the actions she has taken. Make no mistake, Arellano is a coward who bowed to the mob even though the civil discourse had already settled the matter. There is no interest from her office in allowing anything but her opinion to be the rule.
The administration at Texas State needs to be brave enough to allow student leaders to make decisions even if people like Arellano do not agree with the outcome. It is the nature of democracy that people have conflicting ideas. Either way, Texas State should not pretend that students have power, and then override that power when it becomes inconvenient.
Even beyond the specific issue of Connor Clegg, by giving administrators ultimate power of a supposedly student-run democracy, Texas State usurps the power of a student body that is perfectly capable of rational thought. It is time to treat students like the adults they are by respecting their authority over their own government.