By: Cody Boteler, Editor-in-Chief
Student Government Association Vice President James Mileo faced a rogue attempt from a group of senators trying to remove him from office – but the attempt died before a special resolution for impeachment was even brought to a vote.
Mileo was accused of abusing his power and breaking a state law related to SGA salary.
When pay procedures were being formulated by the SGA, members of the executive board consulted with the Office of the General Counsel to make sure that none of the procedures would actually constitute a violation of state law.
One point of contention was that Mileo interviewed potential senators on his own, instead of with the entire Senate Selection Committee. While Mileo said that is something that he “did wrong,” he did not single-handedly appoint them to their positions—the new senators had to be confirmed by the existing student senate.
Former SGA senator Chris Shanahan, joined by three other senators, raised these concerns and others in a draft special resolution. Before it could be submitted to the senate for a vote or debate, though, the draft leaked and the impeachment attempt derailed.
Shanahan said he chose to pursue impeachment, instead of approaching Mileo or an SGA advisor, because Shanahan and other SGA members believed Mileo to be in violation of the SGA Constitution “since the beginning of the administration.”
Mileo said he would have preferred if Shanahan and the other senators had talked to him, instead of trying to go directly for impeachment.
“This should have been a conversation,” Mileo said. “If they believed I did something wrong, they should have followed the SGA Accountability Procedures.”
Shanahan originally contacted The Towerlight to announce he had resigned from the SGA for moral reasons.
“I cannot be part of an organization that practices hypocrisy and a disregard towards the students of Towson,” Shanahan wrote in an email.
What Shanahan called “hypocrisy” referred to, at least in part, three specific concerns that he later shared with student organizations in a series of emails.
Shanahan sent an email labeled “***URGENT: SGA Concerns and how They Effect [sic] Your Student Group,” on Feb. 6.
In it, he raised three concerns he had with the SGA:
- The SGA held a retreat in Rockville, Maryland, which included members of the SGA staying overnight. The financial policy for student groups, at the time of the retreat, did not allow student groups to receive funding for overnight hotel stays if the destination was within 110 miles of campus.
- The SGA has occasional banquets and award ceremonies. Shanahan pointed out that SGA-funded student groups couldn’t use their SGA-budgeted money for food.
- The SGA had not updated their website with the the SGA Constitution and Bylaws that had been voted on during the SGA summer retreat.
Later that evening, the SGA sent a communication to student groups addressing the issues raised.
The email acknowledged that the concerns were legitimate but said that they would be quickly addressed.
At the Feb. 7 SGA General Assembly, the Senate voted to remove banquets and retreats from “items not funded” from the SGA financial policy. The Senate also voted to change the radius for funded overnight travel from 110 miles to 20 miles.
SGA President Taylor James noted in a brief interview with The Towerlight that the senate doesn’t typically change policies during semesters – as to avoid confusing and over-complicating things for student groups.
Kristin DiPeso, who’s the president of the student group the American Marketing Association, showed up at the Feb. 7 meeting after getting the email from Shanahan. She was concerned, she said, with some of the accusations.
“The ‘rogue email’ made me worried,” DiPeso said. “It seemed as if the SGA was using money in ways that wasn’t fair.”
As for Shanahan – he says he’s going to be working with student groups to create reform.
“I have a sliver of hope that the SGA will start to change if change is demanded by the students,” Shanahan said in an email.