SGA Senate triggers unprecedented presidential recall election
The Student Government Association passed a “Resolution of Recall” for their president in a secret ballot during a senate meeting Wednesday, with over two thirds of the chamber members in favor.
The resolution outlined a list of alleged misconduct and grievances against SGA President Arsalan Darbin compiled by several senators including instances of using discriminatory comments, not passing the SGA budget by the Sept. 30 deadline, promoting a hostile work environment and not putting effort into his presidential duties.
During resolution author senator Abraham Sanchez’s speech, a document titled “Grievances Against President Darbin” was passed around the room to SGA members and students, outlining a more detailed list of offenses mentioned in the resolution.
“President Darbin has long fostered a toxic and hostile work environment for his cabinet,” Sanchez said. “These are microaggressions and there is no proof in writing, I’ll ask you to take them as their word.”
Darbin, in response to the allegations, began his speech talking about his early childhood and life experiences that led him to his elected position.
“I’ve done everything I could to ethically and constitutionally perform my role as expected from me to advocate for students and the student body because of my personal experiences,” Darbin said. “I would say accusations of an unhealthy and toxic environment are absolutely false.”
Director of Outreach and cabinet member Brendan Bennett, one of the complainants, urged senate members to pass the recall resolution to trigger a special election open to students.
“We’re all coming forward with these concerns, that’s evidence enough we’re all united in this,” Bennett said. “It’s six people coming forward with the same story we all have similar experiences in this regard.”
Several students also spoke during a moderated caucus and expressed their concerns about the recall being kept as an internal vote.
Others stood in favor of Darbin, worried for how the accusations brought against the SGA president were being investigated.
Student Victor Castro described the senate as an “echo chamber” and told senators there isn’t any substantial arguments or evidence being mentioned.
“I genuinely think that a lot of these allegations against Arsalan are false, the best route to go is an impeachment hearing,” Castro said.
Speaker of the Senate David Paul Hilton, attempted to streamline the recall process by having the recall be presented as a resolution by the senators desiring to bring it to the chamber for a more formal proceeding.
However, whereas a normal resolution can take around two weeks to pass, this one called for a vote the same evening.
“There is no formal process for this outlined, I’m doing my best,” Hilton said.
According to SGA constitution, a recall election where students can vote for or against the recall will take place within 10-14 days of the vote and will be open for at least 48 hours.
SGA members will not be allowed to campaign for the recall, however information about the recall election will be advertised with help from the Center for Student Involvement to raise student awareness.