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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Student Government

Elections commissioner suspended pending possible impeachment

Investigation into a potential impeachment of chief elections officer Kendrick Alridge will move forward after the Student Government Association decided to send an article of impeachment to the Committee of Investigation during a meeting Wednesday night in the SGA Senate Chambers.

Alridge was accused of “nonfeasance and malfeasance” for using expletives directed at REDvolution party members, lacking impartiality and enacting a financial disclosure policy that allegedly contradicts election code.

“Alridge’s comments, attitudes and behaviors toward one specific party running in the current elections cycle demonstrated a lack of impartiality,” according to the Articles of Impeachment 50001. “Alridge has overstepped the bounds of his position, particularly by composing new electoral policies, a power that can be neither found nor extrapolated from any of the duties outlined in Title II, Section C, Clause 1 or Title II, Section C, Clause 8 of the University of Houston Student Government Association’s Electoral Code.”

The article was brought forth by the SGA Committee of Internal Affairs. Tanzeem Chowdhury, a sponsor of the article, felt that though the elections would end before any possible disciplinary actions could be taken against Alridge, he was still in support of presenting the article to the Senate for a decision.

“We still want to let students know that such behavior is not accepted,” Chowdhury said. “We’re still going to voice our opinion and let everybody know that SGA doesn’t stand for this.”

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences senator Guillermo Lopez, who co-authored the article, presented the article of impeachment to the Senate to call for a vote. The Senate voted to send the charges to the Committee of Investigation and voted to suspend Alridge from his position pending the decision of the Committee of Investigation. If it finds the case merited, a trial date will be set.

Cougar Pawlitics presidential candidate Shane Smith called the charges “retaliatory” and said he believes Alridge has done his job as chief elections commissioner.

“I think that Kendrick has worked very hard, but last night, he blew it,” Smith said. ”It was inappropriate, but I would hate to see one moment of bad decision overcast months of hard work.”

Alridge declined to comment on the proceedings.

The REDvolution party was advised by its campaign manager, Leo Mata, to refrain from commenting on the proceedings.

Mata also serves as SGA President Cedric Bandoh’s deputy chief of staff.

In the Senate, REDvolution presidential candidate Charles Haston said that it was “incredibly inappropriate” for party members to participate in the discussion in chambers and vote to both suspend and send charges to the Committee of Investigation.

Senators who have signed the charges against Alridge are Gregorio Ayala Guerra, Guillermo López Velis, John García, Tanzeem Chowdhury, Carol Ann Ross, Kirby White and Domonique Champion.

The Senate passed an amendment to reflect that Alridge did not make “lewd and offensive remarks” to members of the SGA Elections Trial Board.

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