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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Student Government

Impeachment comes to a halt


kendrick Alridge-filephoto (2)

Chief Elections Commissioner Kendrick Alridge stepped down from his position before the Committee of Investigation could formally approach the Senate with its findings in regards to meriting impeachment charges. | File Photo/The Daily Cougar

 Chief Elections Commissioner Kendrick Alridge resigned from his post before an impeachment charge could be brought back from the Student Government Association Committee of Investigation.

Alridge filed his letter of resignation with the Commission and the SGA Attorney General David Ghably, who suspended him in a prior Senate meeting.

“Fighting an impeachment is a waste of time since the election season is over, and I have 21 hours of schoolwork and a future to plan. I’m proud of my work, my Commission and everything we did for SGA. The entire Center for Student Involvement staff has been a great host to the entire election commission,” Alridge said in his letter of resignation.

His notice was filed March 5 and took effect March 7, after the runoff elections concluded.

The move to impeach Alridge was formally brought to the Senate after the SGA Committee of Internal Affairs brought up formal charges for directing expletives at REDvolution party members during an election trial last month, when two separate charges were filed against the party by the Commission.

Chair of the SGA Committee of Internal Affairs Guillermo Lopez, who co-authored the articles of impeachment, said the case has been dropped because Alridge chose to resign.

“I think that Kendrick did what was best for him and the SGA. Despite what happened, I would like to commend him on the work he did as elections commissioner,” Lopez said. “Unfortunately, due to things that happened, he could no longer present the office he was holding the way that it was intended to. I wish Mr. Alridge the best and wish him the best in future endeavors.”

Alridge felt that a trial would have been “unnecessary” and “purely symbolic” because the earliest time a trial could have been set was after the elections. Though he said he disagrees with the accusations that he was biased against REDvolution, he apologized to its members at whom he shouted expletives.

“Granted, my behavior was unacceptable. I said a few explicit things; I had a human moment,” Alridge said. “I’m sorry if I had a personal opinion and it came out in the heat of the moment when people in the same room as me, trashing me all over social media, and I could literally see it.”

Associate Elections Commissioner Shreeya Upadhyay filled the role left by Alridge, becoming the chief elections commissioner.

“I think it was wise of him to avoid the entire impeachment trial. He did a great job as chief elections commissioner, and I was honored to have worked with him,” Upadhyay said. “Without him, the Commission couldn’t have done what it was done.”

The Commission reached out to student organizations and faculty across campus, promoted the elections, held seminars for prospective candidates, more than doubled the campaign period and ran voting stations with a budget of around $5,000. Almost 1,000 more students voted in this year’s general elections than in last year’s, with some colleges more than doubling their turnout. Only $1 remained by the end of the election season.

“You can hate me all you want, but you can’t say I didn’t do my job,” Alridge said.

He said he hopes the new administration will take it upon itself to make extensive election reform.

“If they take one line from my 30-page code, I’ll be happy,” he said.

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