Former USGT Vice President of Policy files complaint over impeachment

John Gimenez hopes to be reinstated as VPP for USG Tempe following a review

Former Vice President of Policy and political science junior John Gimenez said he was unfairly booted out of Undergraduate Student Government at Tempe and now he's filing a lawsuit. 

Gimenez filed a complaint with the Associated Students of ASU Supreme Court against USGT senators, continuing a feud nearly a month in the making. 

On Nov. 5, USGT voted to remove Gimenez based on charges made in an impeachment document that accused him of nonfeasance and misconduct. Gimenez said the ensuing trial and removal process was improper and unconstitutional. 

Gimenez's complaint alleges a lack of due process, impartiality and overuse of private executive sessions. He also said the Senate failed to meet the required three-fourths majority impeachment vote because some senators didn't attend the session. 

During the Nov. 5 executive session meeting, the Senate voted 11-3 to convict leaving four senators absent from the vote, according to USG. However, USGT has not released the minutes for the session.

USGT Bylaws state that three-fourths of the current voting membership are necessary for a conviction, and Gimenez said the senators did not meet this requirement.

"In order for a conviction to happen it should’ve been three-fourths of the 18 senators as a whole," he said. "I believe wholeheartedly I was never convicted."

With this complaint, Gimenez hopes to be granted a temporary restraining order, meaning he could continue working in his previous position as Vice President of Policy while the Supreme Court comes to a decision. 

Criticizing USGT's use of private sessions, Gimenez cited an ASASU Supreme Court precedent that ruled on the constitutionality of meetings closed from the public.

Gimenez said in Boyd v. USGD the Court established that "executive sessions, or any type of secret meetings where things are being discussed and the public is not allowed, has been ruled unconstitutional."

"Getting to this office was open and transparent in an election, so I would hope the removal of the office would also be an open and transparent process," Gimenez said. 

However, Ryan Boyd, an ASU alumnus who filed the lawsuit Gimenez cited, said reasoning for private executive sessions is not clear cut. 

Boyd said that although there may be some sensitive material discussed in private, the majority of a trial is usually held in public. 

"Normally, impeachment trials and everything are held in the public eye," Boyd said. "The act of fully removing an officer without any public notice and basically any public hearing is a little bit frightening." 

Gimenez also said he was not given adequate time to review the articles of impeachment when they were first presented.

"They allowed anyone to submit evidence for or against, and typically you have a reasonable amount of time ... to review all the evidence that has been submitted," Gimenez said. "I was able to see the evidence that everyone submitted two-ish hours before the special session happened on Monday (Nov. 5), so I was given two hours to review hundreds of pages of documents."

Another point of contention surrounding Gimenez's removal is the unapproved sharing of information to The State Press by USGT Senator Ryan Magel, a junior studying political science. 

Magel was reprimanded for his disclosure and Senators are no longer allowed to speak on specifics of the trial to anyone.

"I spoke to The State Press because students have a right to know what their directly elected officials are doing," Magel said in a written statement. "I was reprimanded by Senate President Blinkoff for releasing so much information to The State Press, however, I stand by my actions."  

Editor's note: Ryan Boyd is a previous opinion columnist for The State Press. 


 Reach the reporter at krquaran@asu.edu and follow @kiaraquaranta on Twitter. 

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