Friendism or no, president to appoint executioners
A grievance filed by a political rival leaves ASUO President Emma Kallaway in the awkward position of having to effectively pick part of her own jury.
If the ASUO Constitution Court finds against Kallaway in examining a grievance from senior Michelle Haley, who ran against her for president, Kallaway could lose her position as president. However, the five-member court has lost three members to graduation since last year, and the one who must fill those vacancies is the ASUO president, Kallaway herself.
The awkwardness of Kallaway’s position is intensified because one of Haley’s accusations questions Kallaway’s hiring processes, specifically in her choice of Ella Barrett as chief of staff. And Haley said Tuesday that she does not expect a fair hearing if the justices are Kallaway hires.
“I think it will be very interesting,” Haley said. “I’m not so concerned with actually getting her out of office as I am with just bringing things to light.”
Kallaway rejected Haley’s accusations about her hire of Barrett and the justices, and said she would be trying to distance both herself and the grievance from the hiring process, though she added that she was still “strategizing” about the best way to do that. “Whenever and however this ASUO Executive decides to hire Con Court justices, this grievance will be far from that process.”
Under the ASUO Constitution, the responsibility for appointing justices falls on Kallaway, but ASUO rules also mandate hiring committees and interview processes for appointments, and traditionally presidential staff and ASUO employees are involved in hires.
Kallaway has already made one appointment to the court, law student Casey King, whom she hired before the grievance was filed. The court also contains law students Jonathan Rosenberg and Eric Blaine, who were appointed by Kallaway’s predecessor. Kallaway said she has yet to choose the people she will aim to install in the other two seats.
The grievance itself is wide-ranging. It not only seeks to remove Kallaway from office, it contends that her position is already vacant under an ASUO rule that says any position whose occupant has not fulfilled his or her duties for three weeks or more is considered vacant. As well as her hire of Barrett, its five counts question her diligence in reading her e-mails, the timing of publication of her criteria for fulfillment of duties, and the propriety of her having a conversation with former ASUO President Jared Axelrod while she was on an ASUO-funded trip to Washington, D.C.
When asked if she is innocent, Kallaway said that is for Con Court to decide. She declined to give her personal opinion on the matter.
The ASUO president said she will file a response to the complaint by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
“I‘m going to write it from a perspective that it’s really important to students for me to continue doing what I’m doing,” Kallaway said.
A former ASUO officer who requested anonymity said the grievance was chiefly aimed at hindering Kallaway politically. “It’s just a power move,” the source said. “She’ll have to concede power on the appointments to Con Court. If it’s negative to her, it’s positive for somebody else.”
The beneficiary in such a move would be the conservative opponents of Kallaway, the source said. However, ASUO Sen. Nick Gower, one of the most powerful conservatives in the ASUO, denied involvement. Gower was the first to raise the questions mentioned in the grievance about the memo containing her criteria for fulfillment of duties, but he said he was dismayed by the grievance.
“It needlessly dramaticizes the events that have occurred,” Gower said. “I don’t think that anything she has done warrants being removed from office, especially this early in the year. It’s only going to distract us from the issues at hand, our budget issues this year.”
Read updates on this story throughout the week at dailyemerald.com.
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