ERC Council Removes Injured Sen.

    The Student Council of Eleanor Roosevelt College is reconsidering a decision made earlier this quarter that declared injured Eleanor Roosevelt College Freshman Senator Stephanie Usry “”incapacitated”” and sought to remove her from her position.

    Usry was involved in a car accident during winter break and was hospitalized for five weeks in Wyoming, forcing her to miss her campus activities this quarter, but has announced that she will return to school for spring quarter.

    After recently being informed that she had been removed from her position, Usry wrote an e-mail pleading with SCERC to preserve her status.

    “”Thoughts of returning to my SCERC position kept me sane during my five-week stay in the hospital as I recovered from brain and facial surgery, among others,”” the e-mail stated. “”SCERC and A.S. became my points of sanity in a monotonous world of sterile needles, therapy treatments and medications.””

    After formally removing her from the college council, SCERC recommended to A.S. President Harry Khanna that she be removed from the A.S. Council as well. Khanna said he has been hesitant to fulfill the recommendation.

    “”I want them to at least talk about that e-mail,”” Khanna said. “”It says everything I think. If they sustain their previous decision, I will honor it.””

    The process of her removal sparked debate among the college councilmembers. Several student officials, along with SCERC Adviser and Dean of Student Affairs Patricia S. Goen, called for Usry’s removal from office immediately. The original motion was made to impeach her, but councilmembers decided against such a course of action because it carried a negative connotation. Instead, the councilmembers chose to amend the constitution to allow them to label the position as vacant due to Usry’s incapacitation.

    “”I’m grateful that they didn’t impeach me, and that there are were people who supported keeping me on,”” Usry said. “”I’ve heard of people that were not supportive, but most were really sad to declare me incapacitated. I don’t believe they had ill intentions for me.””

    Usry said she was aware that there was council discussions to remove her, but said she was never made directly aware of the talks.

    “”I’m only getting second- and third-hand [recollections] from what happened in the meeting,”” Usry said. “”I heard that it was an effort from one or two students because of a push from the dean to get this taken care of.””

    Usry said that council advisers were the main proponents of her removal from office.

    “”From what I’ve heard … in the meetings, it definitely sounded like the advisers were working heavily against me keeping my position,”” Usry said.

    With Usry’s letter being distributed among college and A.S. councilmembers, pressure is mounting on the council to resolve the situation.

    “”I think the decision that was made was rushed because we didn’t have all the information,”” Roosevelt Senior Senator Erik Rodriguez-Palacios said. “”My concern was that no one had spoken to [Usry]; we hadn’t communicated with her family.””

    SCERC Vice President Tiffany Yu, who will appoint the next freshman senator if the vacancy is sustained, defended SCERC’s actions.

    “”SCERC did what was necessary to get representation for the freshman class,”” Yu said. “”We did the best we could within our bylaws.””

    Yu also said that she was in support of allowing Usry to assume her previous position upon her return next quarter. Support for her reinstatement is growing among councilmembers.

    “”It makes no sense for us to open up the application process,”” Rodriguez-Palacios said. “”The process to replace her would take longer than to fill her vacancy.””

    Khanna also supported Usry and said it would be a “”horrible decision”” to sustain her vacancy.

    SCERC will further discuss the matter on Feb. 22.

    Usry said that her recovery is going “”absolutely well.””

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