Sunday, September 10, 2017

Yes, Stephen F. Austing State University Lets This Happen...

My Fellow Senators,

Some of you know me, some of you don’t.  My name is Senator Marcella Cook, College of Business Senator.  I would like to let you know some things before I resign. 

First, I want you to know that my resignation is not totally voluntary.  Student Government Association has been everything to me for over two years.  I can remember my first meeting after I was elected.  I was so nervous, and wondering if I was doing the right thing.  I have always put SGA first, in my actions and in my relations.  When I joined SGA, I didn’t know the first thing about anything with government.  I have always kept my opinions to myself and to a point, I still do.  However, I have always wanted to stand for what’s right.  If I don’t like a person, or group, I still do what is best for SGA.  And, right now, I don’t think my resigning is the best for SGA.  There are several reasons why.  But, I will get to that later.

I would like to point out some things from the minutes at the Senate meeting on August 30, 2017.  I will also be pointing things out from our Constitution and ByLaws. 

According to the minutes from the Senate meeting, at 7:10, “Speaker of the Senate introduces a piece of business”.  I would also like to point out that this piece of business was not on the Agenda for the meeting.  Next, I would like to point out from the Bylaws of the Stephen F. Austin State University Student Government Association, Article II, Section 1, subsection C, subsection 2. 
“After completion of new business, a time period must be allowed for discussion of any item not on the agenda but forthcoming from the floor.  During this open period, discussion may take place but no action may be taken unless the rules are suspended.”
It is my understanding from reading the minutes, that the rules were not suspended.  Therefore, the vote for my impeachment should not have happened. 

I stated this in my original email, and will state it again.  If there are accusations against me from Dr. Tareilo, where is the proof?  I have not seen any proof as of yet. 

According to the minutes, “Madam President tried to remove Marci from the factually (sic) meetings because Marci felt it was very important for her to be at the Factually (sic) Meeting.  Marci continued to go to the meetings saying she wasn’t there representing SGA, but factually members says she was.  And Marci was very much associated with SGA for her to not represent SGA”

I would like to see the proof of where Madam President asked me to not go to Faculty Senate meetings.  Yes, I did go, and still will go to Faculty Senate meetings.  I would also like to point out that while Madame President was Chairperson of the Academic Affairs Committee before she was elected, one of her duties was to “Maintain attendance at Faculty Senate Meetings…”, which did not happen.  As Sergeant at Arms last Spring,, I decided not to pursue impeachment on this neglect of duties because I was going to the meetings, though not as an official representative of SGA.  For the record, the Faculty Senate meetings have all been recorded, and you can see, if you would like, if any of my actions were inappropriate.  I can assure you that I never disrupted the Faculty Senate meetings, nor did I behave inappropriately. 

When I was sent the email from Madame President, it was my belief, by the way the email was worded that the meeting was about me.  I apologize for that.  To discuss any other student, without that students knowledge though, may not be illegal, but in my belief it is unethical. 

According to the minutes of the Senate meeting, “Marci doesn’t believe she has done anything wrong and she has not apologized to anyone.  Marci has damaged SGA reputation to the point that they were asked to no longer come to factually (sic) meetings.”  Let’s start with the first sentence.  I have repeatedly asked Madame President what part was impeachable, and who I needed to apologize to.  I believe in always growing and always being open to constructive criticism. Please see the attached Document, GroupMeJessie.  
Next, the second sentence, “Marci has damaged SGA reputation to the point that they were asked to no longer come to factually (sic) meetings.”  I am forwarding an email from Dr. Sorenson, who is the Chair of the Faculty Senate.  In this letter, she states, “Faculty Senate has not asked SGA not to attend the Senate meetings.”  Let me point out the reason for this email in the first place.  I had emailed Dr. Sorenson and apologized if I had offended her.  I had also asked for a meeting with Dr. Sorenson to talk about any behavior that may have been deemed inappropriate, and to also learn from her.  Dr. Sorenson is the Chair of the Faculty Senate.  I expect to learn a lot from her in the near future about how to improve myself. 

I would next like to point out from our Bylaws, Article II, Section 10,
“Senate Ethics and Rules Committee
A.      Primary responsibility is to ensure that the members of the Student Government Association are properly executing, upholding and acceding to the governing documents of this Student Government.
B.      The members of this Committee will be:
1.        The Sergeant at Arms, who shall Chair this committee.
2.       Four (4) senators to be nominated and confirmed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the senate.
3.       Once a Senator has been confirmed by the Senate to hold membership in this Committee, they may not be removed from this committee unless through the process of impeachment.
C.      This Committee shall assume authority over any primary investigations of any violations committed against this Student Government’s Constitution, By-Laws, and Code of Official Conduct. 
1.       The Sergeant at Arms shall have the authority to bring forward charges and lawfully initiate investigations concerning alleged violations of the Student Government Association Constitution, By-Laws, and Code of Official Conduct.
2.       All requests for investigations not originating from the Sergeant-at-Arms must be submitted in writing to the Sergeant-at-Arms and must be approved by two seated Senators within this Committee before an investigation may be initiated.
3.       All votes for official decisions shall be by secret ballot and shall be by simple majority.”

I hope you can see that
1.) There was no official investigation from the Senate Ethics and Rules Committee.
2.) Who are the four senators that have been nominated and confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the Senate?
3.) What was the result of this official investigation?

Now, for the process of Impeachment that the Speaker brought forward, I hope you will notice that this Section is under the Judicial Branch of the ByLaws.  Yes, any Senator may call for the impeachment of any SGA member. There is also another subsection that was not mentioned.
Article IV, Section I, Subsection A, Subsection 4: “There shall be due process during the impeachment and removal procedures.”
In my opinion, due process requires notification of actions.  Was there any notification on the Agenda of the impending Impeachment?  Was it “due process” to bring this up when I had a family emergency, and was on my way to Killeen to be with my mom, who is still on bed rest by doctors orders? 
Also, the vote for impeachment was done by secret ballot.  However, the minutes show no record of a reading of the votes.  According to the minutes, there was no vote taken for this impeachment.
I also believe that, if I were to go in front of the Supreme Court, I would not get a fair trial. 

The reason I am emailing all of this to you is to let you know that I am a dedicated Senator.  I have always conducted myself as if I was representing SGA.  All of my actions have always been for the good of SGA.  I would like to invite each of you to email me either in private, or through a reply to this email as to whether you would like me to resign, or fight for my position in this Senate.

Another thing I would like to point out is this.  The Student Government Association is supposed to have:
            Five (5) off-campus senatorial seats.
Each class will receive one (1) senatorial seat per 600 class members as of fall enrollment prior to elections.
Academic colleges will receive (1) senatorial seat per 600 students enrolled in each representative college.
Each Greek Council will have one (1) senatorial seat to represent their council respectively per 600 active members.
Last Fall/Spring, our Student Government was about 30 Senators short.  We are still about 30 Senators short.  Our school is grossly underrepresenting their students in the Student Government.  Why would we start the year out by impeaching (and getting rid of) another Senator, who has proven to be a valuable asset to SGA through their actions and recruitment efforts. 

In my first year as Senator, I received Senator of the Year.  Last year, even though I didn’t volunteer for it, I was nominated for a Committee Chair in the Fall.  My Committee had three people.  Two of those three people are still leaders in this SGA.  The third graduated.  Last Spring, I was Sergeant at Arms.  During my tenure as Committee Chairperson and Sergeant at Arms, I worked with Dr. Peck on a very successful “Disability for a Day” event, which I had wanted to reintroduce this year.  My first piece of legislation was to get a United States and Texas State Flag on display on the first floor of the Baker Patillo Student Center at all times, which is still evident today.  I would like the chance to still represent this Student Government.  I believe that in giving you, our Senators, this letter, you will make the right choice. 

You can call for a special session of the Senate by emailing the Speaker of the Senate.  You can vote to dismiss this impeachment.  You have power to do what is right.  I beg of you to please think about what I’ve presented, and did not have the ability to present without Due Process.  I beg of you, as Senators, to urge your leadership to do what is right.  And, if it is your wish that I not remain in SGA, please email me and let me know your decision.  You are my fellow Senators, I have looked forward to meeting all of you and working on building SGA this year.  I would still love the chance to represent myself and show you that SGA is of utmost importance to me.