Congress members, cabinet, students,
Thank you for being here. I’m Hannah Murray. I am a member of the Judicial Review Board, I am a member of Campus Outreach and Events, and I am a sponsor of the Bill of Impeachment. Obviously, the Bill something not to be taken lightly. With your cooperation, I would like to offer some additional information that might assist a well-reasoned, careful discussion.
I’d like to review the Judicial Review Board decision and how it was reached. If you are already aware of this, I apologize, but I would like us to all be on the same page. Last November, a Resolution of Inquiry was passed that requested clarification regarding Vision 2020 from upper administration. Because she had already met with Dr. Fisher to discuss the students’ reaction, President Morelan did not feel it was in the best interest of a continued relationship with Dr. Fisher that she present this resolution. As she neither presented the resolution nor vetoed it, Jeanette was found by the Judicial Review Board to be in violation of Section 3,C, Article 1 of SGA’s Constitution, which states, “The President shall be the head liaison to the Administration of Belmont University,” and Section 3, B, Article 1, which states “The President shall have the power to veto legislation. Should legislation not be returned to the Student Congress by way of a veto and remain unsigned at the end of seven calendar days, the legislation shall be enacted.” The Judicial Review Board found that the “effective yet unofficial and inexplicit” veto rendered Congress powerless, and – if allowed impunity – sets a dangerous precedent for future Presidents. Without the congressional check of a possible two-thirds majority override on an official presidential veto, Congress is placed at the will of the President and cannot dissent. This presents an imbalance that disrupts the democratic system put in place by the Constitution of the Student Government Association of Belmont University.
Given the events of the past week, I would like to make it clear on behalf all the sponsors that this Bill is not a personal attack on Jeanette. This congress has been more active and effective than any Belmont congress in recent memory, and the President has been instrumental in leading us to new levels of engagement with the student body. We have tried to be the best possible voice for the students, and it is our mandate as elected representatives to continue to do so.
I have nothing but respect and admiration for President Morelan, and I believe she has executed her office with grace and pragmatism. However, she willingly and knowingly violated the parameters of her office, which – regardless of how well-reasoned and well-intended – sets a dangerous precedent that undermines any and all legislation.
I’d like to clarify that impeachment is not removal from office. It is merely the way to facilitate investigation of the issue, and begins an open discussion as to the best course of action for the students and for congress. Transparency is not something anyone should be afraid of.
When discussing such a fundamental and delicate issue, emotions run high, and allegations are released like arrows to wound our enemies. We are not enemies. We are called to be a united voice to speak for the students. In times of dissent, it is not a matter of who can shout the loudest, but rather what is the best course of action as the voice of Belmont’s students. We all took an oath upon our initiation to uphold the Constitution, and my fellow sponsors and I feel it is our duty to our office and to the students to maintain the integrity of this association.
I’m going to try something different and end with a quote. George Washington said, “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.”