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ASBSU addresses controversy regarding recent impeachment trial

Photo by Mackenzie Hudson

On Nov. 4, the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) held an impeachment trial for ASBSU President Angel Cantu, regarding an anonymous complaint document submitted to the ASBSU Ethics Officer, including nine complaints against him for his actions, behavior, and other conduct as ASBSU president

After the impeachment trial, an email from ASBSU was sent to the students of Boise State regarding the final hearing decision. The email states the General Assembly confirmed impeachment and removal of Cantu with a two-thirds majority vote. The Academic Senate denied the impeachment with a vote of two approvals, two absentees and 15 denials. The ASBSU Constitution states that a tie within the branches will be decided by the combined votes of the Executive Council and the Inclusive Excellence Student Council. The impeachment was confirmed by an eight approved, one abstention and one denial within the Executive Council.

An election will be held in the Executive Council, General Assembly and Academic Senate to fill the position of ASBSU President, according to the email. Applications will be posted to ASBSU’s website, social media and on ASBSU’s Engage portal. 

A games, interactive media and mobile technology (GIMM) major and College of Innovation and Design representative and senate member of ASBSU Astrid Wilde has experienced frustration with ASBSU since 2019, witnessing acts of discrimination against political opinions.

“Some of the things I witnessed last year were almost every member of [executive council] having a very explicit distaste for conservatives. That was manifested in things like conservatives not being allowed back to assembly after the first semester last year,” Wilde said. “That was done deliberately and was said to me by the vice president at the time, and the government relations officer that ‘yay, we got rid of the bad ones. We don’t have to worry about them anymore.’” 

Since the recent impeachment trial, Wilde has publicly posted several videos to her Instagram account stating her distrust in ASBSU. Wilde admits her opinion of the matter is biased and considers many people involved in the impeachment to be close friends. However, this hasn’t stopped Wilde from posting these claims to the public via Instagram.

Along with several videos on Instagram, Wilde provided a detailed transcript of her accusations against ASBSU.

“Angel hasn’t been the only one failing to live up to the University’s Statement of Shared Values when it comes to treating others fairly and with respect, and I would argue that based on the evidence presented to us already alone that others are more guilty of this failure than he,” Wilde wrote.

Wilde believes Cantu should be held accountable for some of the accusations stated in the anonymous complaint, such as not properly representing students at Boise State. However, Wilde does not believe Cantu should be accused of perpetuating white supremacy. 

“[Cantu] thought we should have a year period where we transition to [no police on campus]. That was somehow used to say that he’s perpetuating white supremacist culture because police are white supremacists,” Wilde said. “It was very disturbing how this whole impeachment was framed.”

Through the impeachment process, Wilde believes some members of ASBSU have used this as an opportunity to push certain political agendas. 

“I find it really telling that through this whole process, all of these people that are involved in this impeachment and are bringing charges against Angel, have personally, in their role as representatives of the university and ASBSU, used this as an opportunity to enact their own political agenda, rather than serving students,” Wilde said.  

[Photo of the Boise State University sign on campus]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

Another accusation brought by Wilde was voter fraud within the impeachment trial. 

At Boise State, there are nine academic colleges with two representatives in the ASBSU Senate for each college, totaling 18 members.  

During the trial, only 17 members of the Senate attended. However, 19 votes were counted for the final result, which can be found in ASBSU’s official impeachment result sent to students. 

According to ASBSU guidelines, a senate member cannot vote on trial if that person is not in attendance, which people not in attendance did vote. In addition, Bayley Bingham, vice president of Academic Affairs voted when he was not allowed to, equalling two extra votes in the trial. 

When asked if Bingham voted in the trial, he said he did not. According to Wilde, ASBSU was granted access to look at the names of voters, and Bingham was found guilty. Bingham has since resigned from his position at ASBSU.

Kenneth Huston, ASBSU officer admits there was a problem with the voting process. 

“Through an investigation of the process, we discovered one person voted and was not in attendance, which is not allowed,” Huston said. “Secondly, Bayley Bingham was discovered to have voted when he has no place in the process to vote in the Senate. It’s his job to vote in Executive Council decisions. When we look at the outcome of the vote tally in the Senate, two votes does not change the outcome. There will not be a re-vote.”

At this time, ASBSU has not directly sent this information to students. 

“We will acknowledge that there has been some kind of problem in the process,” Huston said. “It’s my personal opinion that ASBSU is not in the place right now in our re-building of trust phase with the student body to spam the student body with a bunch of mass emails, but I do acknowledge that The Arbiter is a great place for this to happen. While we may not send out a mass email, this information is being released in our public record.”

According to Wilde, the ASBSU constitution states the impeachment result cannot be appealed unless there is a three-fourths majority vote from both assembly and senate. 

Through all of the speculations brought up from this impeachment trial, Wilde encourages students to be as involved in the student body as possible. 

“I’ve never seen this much engagement about ASBSU from students. Seeing this amount of engagement from people who are not otherwise already politically engaged and involved is amazing and I’m super excited about it,” Wilde said. 

Huston feels the impeachment trial had its ups and downs. 

“This is the first impeachment and removal from office that our current form of government has experienced. We’re bound to come up with things that didn’t work as well as they could have, we were given almost zero guidance. We had no precedence to go off of,” Huston said. 

As the ethics officer, Huston promotes transparency, makes sure members are fulfilling their roles and is the only person who can present code changes. During an impeachment trial, Huston’s main job is to navigate the process and decide what is most ethical for the situation 

Throughout the impeachment process, he consulted with past ethical officers to get a better understanding of how to handle the situation. 

Many students at Boise State felt the trial was created out of differences of opinion, rather than violation of any ASBSU codes, ethics or inappropriate behavior.

“I think that the complaint document that was submitted contained a lot of emotions. Typically when such strong feelings are felt, they are not created completely unwarranted. The emotion that is in the complaint document that outlines this harmful behavior and creation of a hostile environment, there are some legitimate claims to what happened,” Huston said. “Outside of political opinion differences, there were some very serious allegations that were brought forward that I think warranted removal.”

Overall, Huston wants students at Boise State to know their voices are being heard. 

“When students are talking about their voices not being heard, or they weren’t being represented in this process, I would say just because the outcome is not what you may have wanted or what is or is not what happened, the very nature that this vote was so close says that your voice made an impact,” Huston said.

 Huston encourages more students to be involved in student government to have their voices heard.

“Contact your student reps that represent you and the populations you are a part of, finding out what committees we have at student government and see if you can participate as an at-large member,” Huston said “All of our meetings are open to the public unless otherwise stated. Continue showing up is the biggest thing I can say.”

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