Senators threaten Kallaway with grievance, allege rule-breaking
Opponents spent the last week sharpening their daggers for an attempt to oust the student body president through the ASUO’s grievance process, alleging that she had broken a rule that required her to publish a set of goals for her term in office. They said on Saturday, however, that they were willing to stay their petition for another week to allow her to address their concerns.
Those opponents, student Sens. Nick Gower and Lyzi Diamond, said President Emma Kallaway violated an ASUO rule that states: “The President shall establish and publish his or her own criteria for fulfillment of duties within one month of taking office.”
Kallaway, who assumed the presidency May 25, sent a list of five goals via e-mail to student programs, ASUO officials and the Emerald on July 20. The e-mail listed June 24 as an “original date.”
The document, which Kallaway later said was meant to constitute her compliance with the rule, spurred a week of dispute between Kallaway and Diamond and Gower. Gower said the dispute was resolved at the end of the week when Kallaway said she would expand the criteria by next week.
At the center of the dispute were two different versions of the circumstances surrounding the goals list.
Gower and Diamond accused Kallaway of forgetting the rule and only sending out the e-mail after a staffer reminded her of it. Gower said the “original date” listed at the top “means nothing but to evade the potential grievance.” Gower said Monday that he was weighing the possibility of a grievance.
Kallaway said, however, that she had begun work on the document two weeks after she assumed office and passed it around her office to seek the feedback of her staff until it was sent out July 20. She said the viability of a grievance would likely be determined by the interpretation of the word “publish” in the rule.
“The publishing was the conversations I had with people in this office,” she said, though she also admitted Wednesday, “If you were to take the full expression of the word ‘publication,’ it would be the e-mail I sent out Monday.”
If a grievance had been filed, it would have been the job of the ASUO Constitution Court, which is tasked with interpreting ASUO rules, to decide whether sending it within her office constituted publishing the document. Former Constitution Court Chief Justice Kevin Parks said the nature of the word is ambiguous.
“I can’t imagine a situation where something could be written down and not published,” Parks said.
When told about the specifics of the case, Parks said it would have been a difficult decision for the court.
“It’s totally open to interpretation,” he said. “I can see how it could be argued that that could be publishing and would be publishing, and I can see how it could be argued that that wouldn’t be publishing.”
The five-seat Constitution Court now has three vacancies, to which Kallaway must appoint replacements.
The dispute also concerned the nature of Kallaway’s published criteria. They comprised only five bulleted goals that resembled points from Kallaway’s platform and a list of her appointees so far. Gower and Diamond compared them unfavorably to the three-page list of concrete goals published by Kallaway’s predecessor, Sam Dotters-Katz.
It looked as though the dispute would go before the Constitution Court until a discussion occurred between Kallaway and Gower near the end of the week. In that conversation, Gower said, Kallaway promised to publish a new set of criteria and Gower agreed not to file a grievance until afterward.
“This is essentially setting up her administration,” Gower said. “Saying ‘increase outreach’ without explaining what that means isn’t doing justice to our student government.”
Kallaway said she had a different impression from Gower’s of what the rule entailed. She said she will publish a new, expanded set of goals on Friday.
As for the date, Gower said it is of secondary importance. “The date doesn’t really matter. We just want a document that is professional and articulated.”
Goals in Kallaway’s Letter
|•||Work closely with programs to improve resources|
|•||Improve outreach to students|
|•||Research cost effectiveness of our current transportation options|
|•||Research and plan for continued funding of the late night library|
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