A.S. Council Fails to Impeach Senator for Absences

A.S. Council attempted to impeach Marshall College Senator Summer Perez at its Nov. 2 meeting because she exceeded her unexcused absence limit. Her unexcused absences revealed gaping holes in the attendance policy.

The impeachment failed, with councilmembers voting 17-9-1.

A.S. Council only allows three unexcused absences, and Perez had five.

Three of the meetings Perez missed were all on Oct. 19. Council holds three meetings each Wednesday evening from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. If councilmembers miss all three meetings held on Wednesdays and do not excuse their absences, they will have used their three unexcused absences in one night.

Perez said she has been sick the past few months and she had her appendix removed last Thursday, Oct. 27.

Similar issues with the attendance policy arose last year. The previous Arts and Humanities Senator Shunya Wade had 19.5 unexcused absences last year and A.S. Council spent an hour in closed session deciding whether or not Wade should be impeached. Her defense had been that she had class and had emailed someone from council earlier in the quarter, but she later found out she emailed the wrong person.

She was not impeached. A.S. Council’s main issue with the attendance policy in the past was being able to hold members accountable for their absences.

Perez said the attendance policy was a big issue discussed during the meeting. She said A.S. Council acknowledged that there were problems with the policy.

“It’s a little contradictory in my eyes — you would agree that the bylaws are broken — yet we’re still going to operate under them because they’re there,” Perez said.

Sixth College Senator Cody Marshall said that one of the biggest problems in the attendance policy is that there is no way to excuse absences retroactively. He used the example of a councilmember fainting due to low blood pressure on a Wednesday afternoon; the councilmember automatically has three unexcused absences and no way to formally excuse him after the fact.

“It’s flawed in the sense that there’s no strict criteria on what constitutes an excused absence and what doesn’t,” Marshall said. It’s just strange that even though on the council floor several members expressed that the attendance policy was broken, they were still willing to go forward and police people despite that. It’s like [the pot] calling the kettle black.”

There are several ways A.S. Council could have retroactively excused the absences. Council could postpone the matter indefinitely, or go back to the minutes and excuse the absences there. Perez said members of A.S. Council were not inclined to do either.

There is an item in the order of business for the next A.S. Council meeting on Oct. 9 calling for an approval of an amendment to the minutes of Oct. 19, excusing Perez from the Senate meeting, the All Campus Affairs Committee Meeting and the Council meeting.

“My only mistake in this whole situation was that I forgot to send an email,” Perez said.