SA members explain censures

Noah Thornburgh

DeKALB — Three possible censures were discussed at Sunday’s Student Association meeting; one for Speaker of the Senate Tristan Martin and one for President Khiree Cross, neither of which passed, and one for Chief of Staff Citrick Davis, which did. Davis’ censure passed receiving 12 votes in favor, 5 against and 3 abstentions. Cross’ censure was denied by a tie of 9 in favor and 9 against, with 4 abstentions. Martin’s censure did not pass, with a vote of 6 in favor and 7 against, with 7 abstentions.

Davis’ Censure

Davis was censured for failing to submit and present a weekly report to the Senate at least once a month, according to the March 24 SA meeting minutes. The minutes said Davis has not submitted a weekly report of any kind and has not reported to the Senate since Dec. 2.

Martin said there are two kinds of reports: weekly reports that get uploaded to HuskieLink and reports that get submitted to the Rules and Procedures Committee, to be presented at a Sunday Senate meeting at least once a month. The weekly reports contain a week’s worth of the individual’s performed tasks, as well as the total hours worked, according to the executive reports uploaded to HuskieLink. All of the Cabinet members’ reports should go up on the SA webpage, according to the Senate Bylaws, Part I, Article III, Section A.

Davis said his reports were denied by the Rules and Procedures Committee. The chairperson of this committee is Martin, who confirmed the denial of the reports.

Davis said the Committee and SA advisers told him the reports were opinionated, which is they were denied. After, Davis approached SA advisers for clarification; Martin responded with emails requesting a change and a deadline for completion.

Davis said the deadline was unreasonable based on his consistent schedule.

An email sent by Martin at 8:26 p.m. Thursday Feb. 28 reads, “I need these edits by 1:30 [p.m.] on Friday, February 29th.”

Davis responded at 9:44 a.m. the next day to the email and said he would try to send the edited report during his office hours between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. After more emails between 10:19 a.m. and 11:56 a.m., Martin said if Davis submitted the report later than 3:30 p.m., he would not be able to add the report to the agenda for Sunday’s Senate meeting. At 4:42 p.m., Davis sent the edited report to Martin.

“[The report] got there at around [4 p.m.] once I finished up all the stuff I had to do, like I do every Friday,” Davis said.

The reports are not typically opinionated, being factual lists of tasks performed and hours clocked, according to Davis and Martin. Davis said the first denied report included a statement on a censure that never made the SA minutes.

Martin said there was a censure about content in a memo that was not pursued.

“There was a censure that did not even get put on the floor,” Davis said. “I did address [it] in my statement.”

Davis said there have been empty promises from the Rules and Procedures Committee, specifically a performance review that arrived late. Davis said these reviews assess the productivity of every paid position. The executive branch discusses these reviews over the SA retreat — an all-day event held by the advisors of the Student Association — but Davis said the reviews did not come in before the day of the retreat, Jan. 12.

According to the Senate bylaws, there is no deadline for the Committee’s reviews.

“Did it set us back? Essentially yes, but realistically we were able to manage,” Davis said. “I believe in accountability, all the way, but you can’t continue to hold someone accountable when you’re not holding yourself accountable.”

Martin’s Censure

Speaker of the Senate Tristan Martin’s proposed censure was for inconsistent record-keeping, failing to amend the Constitution and Bylaws within the legislated time-frame, inadequate enforcing of SA rules within the Senate and failing to make staffing changes to alleviate the mentioned issues, according to Sunday’s SA meeting minutes.

“I feel like I’ve been doing a pretty decent job for the past eight or so months,” Martin said. “I know that I have made mistakes like this, but I feel like I have attempted to amend some of the things I have done wrong.”

Martin said committee record submissions have been required since he began. He said there have been discrepancies in the requirements and the actual submission of reports, which have not been consistently submitted.

Martin said he sent emails at the start of the year to the committees, outlining his expectations regarding reports, which he said he recognizes as an inadequate solution.

One of these emails, sent Jan. 29 to the chairpersons of the Senate Committees, outlines the next-day meeting minute deadline and the responsibility of the chairperson or the secretary to the chairperson to submit these minutes.

“If your secretary is not able to submit minutes, you as the chairperson are liable for those minutes,” according to the email.

Martin said he intends to spend this week retroactively updating the HuskieLink page with the Committee minutes that have not been posted, part of the duties he is to hold chairpersons accountable to.

He said part of the issue was the recent release of his former clerk, Neil Albavera, and the hiring of new clerk, Meghan Trentz. Martin said this may be what explains the censure on failing to make staffing changes.

“Regardless of if my censure would have passed or not, I know what I’m doing, and I know my mistakes; I know what I need to address and what I need to fix,” Martin said. “These are things I’ve been working on to make sure they’re fixed, even before the were brought up [in the Senate].”