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USG senators vote against Stern’s suspension

By Francois Gatimu

Members of Undergraduate Student Government voted Tuesday night against a motion that would have suspended President Jared Stern for allegedly acting on personal bias by adjourning a meeting prematurely.  

The motion was sponsored by Nick Shereos, a newly appointed USG senator and member of the governing documents board. Shereos asserted Stern’s behavior in the committee’s weekly meeting was “unbecoming as the executive” and justified grounds for suspension.

This motion came after non-senate members of the committee questioned Stern’s objectivity in prematurely adjourning a meeting of the governing documents board after a vote passed to keep Jonathan Flowers, Graduate and Professional Student Council’s vice president for student affairs, as an adviser.

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The committee was commissioned in Fall 2016 in hopes of ratifying potential constitutional problems. The majority of senators voted against the measure, which would have resulted in a two-week suspension for Stern.

Bethany Peppers, a member of the documents board, accused Stern of acting on his “personal bias” by attempting to preclude Flowers’ input on umbrella organizations, which has been a point of contention since last year.

“We weren’t giving him a place on the board, he doesn’t have a say in legislation,” said Peppers, stressing that Flowers would “only be advising its members.”

The implications of long-drawn deliberations were highlighted by some during the public comments. Others focused their indictment more directly on the overall failure of USG committees due to their “overall lack of diversity,” said Senator Kane Hudson.

“The committees need to be overhauled, since there are no diverse views,” Hudson said.

Yahaira Heller, an SIU graduate and former USG senator, said with the priority placed on funding the organizations, adjourning the documents committee was obstructive and senators saw a need for “experienced input.”

“The umbrella organizations are the ones that are hurting,” Heller said, adding that the committee’s deliberations on umbrella funding were “holding umbrellas back from planning.”

The governing documents committee was supposed to discuss umbrella organizations on the prematurely adjourned meeting on Sunday; a topic which “Mr. Flowers is well knowledgeable about,” said Kevin Lindsey during Tuesday’s meeting.

Stern adamantly backed his decision to adjourn, saying that if given another chance he would do it the again and that his decision was “consistent with actions in the past.”

“The governing documents board is for undergraduate and not graduate students to determine its fate,” Stern said, adding that he viewed Flowers’ participation as infringing on undergraduate affairs.

Correction: Senator Kane Hudson was present at the meeting, not Raheam Hudson. We sincerely apologize for the error.

Correction: Members of Undergraduate Student Government voted Tuesday night to table a motion, not a bill. Again, We sincerely apologize for the error.

Staff writer Francois Gatimu can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @frankDE28.

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The student news site of Southern Illinois University