ASBSUNews

BREAKING: ASBSU President Angel Cantu has been impeached

Graphic by Jordan Barno

During the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) Academic Senate and Student Assembly meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 4, former ASBSU President Angel Cantu gave his defense to his impeachment charges to more than 200 people on Zoom and Facebook live, which included ASBSU members, as well as other Boise State students and members of the general public.

Cantu was voted to be impeached through an anonymous vote, according to a university-wide email, sent out the evening of Nov. 5, that included the voting results. The email sent by ASBSU stated: 

“In a silent ballot, the members of the General Assembly confirmed impeachment with a two-thirds majority vote of 11 approve, and 5 denials. The members of the Academic Senate denied impeachment with a vote of 2 approve, 2 abstentions, and 15 denials. This tie between the branches is outlined in the Constitution Article IX, Section 4, paragraph 1 to be broken with a two-thirds majority vote of the combined Executive Council and IESC [Inclusive Excellence Student Council]. In this combined vote, 8 approved, 1 abstained, and 1 denied, which has confirmed President Cantu’s impeachment and removal from office.”

To fill the vacancy of the president’s position, an emergency election will be held in the Executive Council, General Assembly and Academic Senate — outlined in the ASBSU constitution.

Applications will be posted to the ASBSU website, ASBSU’s social media accounts and on the ASBSU Engage portal in the coming days.

A virtual two-hour town hall will be held for current Boise State students in the next two to three weeks. The town hall is for students to ask ASBSU leadership questions regarding its process, the trial and provide feedback. Questions can be submitted ahead of the meeting

At the trial, Ethics Officer Kenneth Huston presented the ethics committee’s findings to Cantu’s impeachment charges from all five branches of ASBSU during the senate and assembly hearing. 

In the official complaints document for Cantu’s charges, written by the ASBSU ethics committee after the committee’s initial hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 27, where it was voted on to bring the charges to the Academic Senate and Student Assembly.

The official complaint document lists Cantu’s alleged code breaches from being within the ASBSU Constitution, Ethics Code, University Policy and the Spirit of ASBSU.

“I never chose to support one identity more than the other, but instead chose to direct ASBSU in a moderate and balanced position,” Cantu said. 

Cantu had 30 minutes to present his defense and had two witnesses, Communications Officer Emily White and former ASBSU assembly member Matt Lester, who spoke to different accusations made regarding Cantu.

Lester was on ASBSU 2019-2020 as the veteran representative and he also spoke on Cantu’s behalf as a witness to feeling uncomfortable during training over the summer.

“Over the course of the summer, I definitely didn’t feel great about going into ASBSU knowing that there are such negative feelings for police officers,” Lester said.

Ethics Officer Kenneth Huston then presented the alleged nine violations for the charges against Cantu. 

Breaches to the ASBSU Constitution were as follows:

  1. Non-discrimination: Article 1 Section 3. ASBSU will not discriminate against any individual on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, disability, veteran status, political affiliation, gender identity/expression, or sexual orientation in matters of employment, services, requests for funds, educational, or other activities.
  2. Committee Appointments: Article 3 Section 1 Paragraph 5. The President has the primary authority to make all appointments to all University committees that include students.
  3. Duties to maintain general welfare of students: Article 3 Section 1 Paragraph 11. The President will perform or delegate any other duties that are necessary to promote and maintain the general welfare of the Associated Students.”

Breaches to the ASBSU Code of Ethics were as follows: 

  1. Confidence in effectiveness and integrity in officials: Article II Subsection A. Students are entitled to have complete confidence in the effectiveness and integrity of ASBSU, and in every elected or appointed student in ASBSU working to serve the student body. This Chapter exists to ensure ASBSU is ethical and accountable to the students of the University.
  2. Following of Student Code of Conduct and University Statement of Shared Values: Article III Subsection B. In fulfilling these duties, ASBSU and all Personnel will follow the Student Code of Conduct and the University Statement of Shared Values.

Breaches to the university policy (University Policy #2020: Student Code of Conduct) were as follows:

  1. Hostile environment: Section 3 Subsection E. A “Hostile Environment” is created if the conduct is so severe, pervasive, or persistent that it creates an environment that would cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress and undermine their ability to work, study, learn, or otherwise participate in University programs or services, and actually does cause the harassed person(s) these difficulties.
  2. Conflict of interest: University Policy #1110: Conflict of Interest – Article III Section 3 Subsection 1 Paragraph 1. When an Employee’s financial, professional, or other personal interests may directly or indirectly affect, or appear to affect, that Employee’s judgment in exercising their Institutional Responsibilities.
  3. Communicable disease: University Policy #9270: Communicable Disease – Section 4.4 Subsection G. A student restricted from face-to-face classes or any other campus activity must be released for normal activity by the Public Health Office
  4. Violation of Sanctions

The Vice President of the Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC) Ryann Banks and IESC member Amanda Hawks gave testimony and evidence for the charges. Banks noted her involvement in the impeachment process began because other ASBSU executive members asked for her contribution in the matter.

“He shares these posts with ASBSU to further delegitimize my credibility and discredit my radical stance on abolition and in his impeachment trial,” Banks said.

Banks has since posted an Instagram video saying she has resigned from her position as Vice President of Inclusive Excellence.

Hawks gave examples to some of the constitutional violations Cantu has allegedly breached, including discrimination and hostile environments.

“After explaining our concerns as a collective to him [that] he did not adequately acknowledge harm, disregard, and blatant disrespect for our [and] my individual autonomy outside of this position. He responded with an eight page letter explaining why he would not hold himself accountable,” Hawk said.

In Cantu’s presentation, he used language stating that he would try to read material given to him by the IESC if he had the means and time to do so.

The discussion was then opened to Academic Senate and Student Assembly members. A Student Assembly representative asked ASBSU Vice President Cambree Kanala if Cantu had ever caused harm or screamed at her.

“Yes, on a phone call,” Kanala said. 

According to the accusations against Cantu, he allegedly yelled at Kanala on a phone call. Cantu’s second witness, White, testified that she had never witnessed Angel raise his voice while in meetings.

“I have not witnessed Angel raise his voice or yell at individual members of the Executive Council nor as our group as a whole at our weekly meetings or during our training,” White said. 

Previously, Cantu had said he did not yell or raise his voice at any executive member. Kanala was then asked if she was using the impeachment as a way to gain the position of presidency.

“No. If the impeachment went through, I would not sit in as the president,” Kanala said.

Student representative for the College of Engineering Aidan McConnehey asked Cantu if he had the power to appoint a nominee for the position of President of Academic Affairs. 

Cantu acknowledged he did have the option, but did not pressure anyone to choose a nominee. 

After questions from the Student Assembly and Academic Senate members, the two groups moved into a private discussion and voted anonymously on the impeachment proceeding. Once the two groups returned, the forum was opened to general audience questions.

Graphic by Jordan Barno | The Arbiter

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