The USUAA Rules Committee held an impeachment hearing last week to oust Student Body President Drew Lemish. Charges include lack of attendance at assembly meetings, inappropriate behavior at assembly meetings, taking vacations without proper notifications and not responding to communications from other assembly members, students, staff and faculty regarding official USUAA business.
Lemish was unable to attend the hearing due to schedule conflicts, but he prepared a written statement that was read to those present. The Rules Committee, when asked if they had made fair accommodations to schedule the hearing during a time in which Lemish could attend, said emails were sent to Lemish in a timely manner, but he failed to respond.
Lemish said, “I don’t think it was ethical of the Rules Committee to have a hearing without consulting me, or finding a time that I could meet there to defend my case or talk or see the people who were there. I think it is unethical that they were unable to work with me.”
Though the vote to move forward with impeachment was approved during the April 4 assembly meeting, the Rules Committee did not contact Lemish through email until Monday night. The impeachment hearing was held at 4 p.m. Thursday. Lemish asked for the time to be changed so he could attend, but the committee said they were on a time crunch due to regulations that require a public hearing within seven days of a vote to impeach. By Friday, an ethics complaint had been filed against the Rules Committee in regards to the impeachment hearing.
In his written statement, Lemish explained that he had some “personal issues” come up during his term that he had to take care of, and he did not feel it was appropriate to inform anyone of the specifics of these issues other than his adviser. Lemish also stated that many of the duties left incomplete were the responsibilities of the vice president.
UAA student Johnnie Templeton attended the hearing. Templeton asked if there was proof that Lemish was intentionally forgoing his duties or if it was hearsay. Members of the committee stated they had proof.
Templeton questioned whether or not impeachment was a viable option considering Lemish’s term is up in three weeks, and an impeachment will follow him throughout his life. Templeton suggested if discipline is necessary, his presidential stipend and service award could get stripped instead of an impeachment.
Kirsten “Kay” Church, pro tempore of the Rules Committee and chair of activities, said the Rules Committee has been put on halt because someone has filed an ethics complaint. This means the committee cannot move forward with impeachment until it addressees the complaint. Once the ethics complaint has been addressed, it will be decided if USUAA can move forward with the impeachment. According to Church, it is not known who filed the complaint, or what the complaint says.