Former USG president presents appeal to senate to repeal his impeachment


Brian Munoz

Joshua Bowens, former SIU Undergraduate Student Government president, protests Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, outside of Morris Library. Bowens spoke on racial and social issues on the SIUC campus and said he there will be continued demonstrations for 12 days at 12:12 p.m. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Jeremy Brown

At its regularly scheduled Undergraduate Student Government meeting Tuesday, former USG president Joshua Bowens presented a writ of certiorari, saying his impeachment was unconstitutional.

A writ of certiorari is a written statement from someone appealing to a judicial board explaining their reasons for why a wrong decision may have been made.

Bowens was impeached at the previous USG senate meeting on Feb. 13, as there were reports of him handing out fliers for his company ‘One Race’ at an Alumni Association meeting and not coming to his office hours.


According to Bowens’ appeal, his impeachment was unconstitutional because the senate did not give a two-third affirmative vote, and there were seven votes cast in favor of his impeachment.

As previously reported by the Daily Egyptian, USG Chief Justice Sarah Stipp during the proceedings of the bill said, “There were nine yes’s, four no’s, and five abstained. The five [abstained] go the majority. That makes it 14 in favor.”

Bowens’ said the two-third majority vote of the senate must be that of the entire senate population, not just two-thirds of the senators that were present for the meeting.

“Here, given the ‘of the senate’ language in the USG constitution, the appropriate measure is the vote of all members of the senate,” Bowens said. “There are 23 senators, therefore, at least 15 votes were required to impeach.”

According to the USG constitution, Bowens’ impeachment would still be unconstitutional because there was only 14 votes in the majority, not 15 votes.

Bowens’ also said the USG constitution specifically mandates “affirmative” votes meaning there must be sufficient “yes” votes to remove a USG president from office. The appeal also said affirmative votes are yes votes, not abstained votes.

The USG constitution does not specify the definition of affirmative votes in any of its articles.


Bowens’ appeal said that adequate notice was not given of impeachment proceedings.

“Under no circumstance is two hours’ notice sufficient,” Bowens said. “Pursuant to the USG constitution, the bill should have been given a ‘first reading’ in advance of the official impeachment proceedings. [I] was entitled to more than two hours to prepare defenses to the allegations.”

The USG constitution does not say a ‘first reading’ should be given in advance of impeachment proceedings.

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Lori Stettler said Bowens came to her to asking what he could to do to repeal the impeachment.

“I referred him back to the USG constitution,” Stettler said. “Which clearly states the procedure of how it should be followed for him to file an appeal through the judicial branch.”

During his time to speak at the podium, Bowens said the administration said they couldn’t help him.

“I showed them this document here, full of facts,” Bowens said, referring to his writ of certiorari. “The administration told me this was a student problem, and they could do nothing.”

Bowens said the judicial board must make their decision of reviewing his appeal with caution.

“This is a moment that could destroy the legitimacy of an entire student government by blatantly ignoring the clear language of the constitution,” Bowens said. “[There is] a small group of senators, who have effectively rendered the constitution meaningless.”

Bowens’ appeal said the bill of impeachment was an orchestrated and premeditated attempt to overthrow the will of the student body.

“The senators involved in such plans were prepared and executed this well coordinated plan at the expense of the remaining senators,” Bowens said.

Toussaint Mitchell, USG senator and chairman of USG’s internal affairs committee, was one of the senators that voted to impeach Bowens.

He said the impeachment was not a predetermined or personal attack against Bowens.

“I think he came in with good intentions,” Mitchell said. “The issue is, you can have ambitions to do good things, but if we’re not helping people the way we need to be helping them, then actions need to be taken. And that’s exactly what was done.”

Staff writer Jeremy Brown can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JeremyBrown_DE.

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