Clemson Senate VP Impeached After Pledge Protest

Clemson University's student government made a second attempt to oust its vice president during a senate meeting Monday night and voted to move forward with an impeachment trial.

The move comes not long after the student didn't stand for the pledge of allegiance, although those who voted maintain that was not the reason for the decision.

Jaren Stewart, vice president of Clemson's student government, was at a conference in Washington, D.C., and not present at the meeting where Miller Hoffman, a student senator, introduced the articles of impeachment for a second time.

"I demand that this body at least listen to what I have to say," Hoffman said. "My sole purpose by initiating this process is to present before you the facts and sound logic. My job is to outline the relevant information and allow you to make the best decision for this university that you can."

Students went back and forth in a debate for more than three hours about whether an impeachment trial was warranted. Around 10:45 p.m., student senators, by secret ballot, voted 40-18 in favor of an impeachment trial.

Leland Dunwoodie, president of the student senate, said at the conclusion of the meeting he would confirm a trial date at a later time.

Stewart, among several other student senators, refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during a senate meeting on Sept. 25 in a nod to recent NFL protests in which players knelt during the national anthem.

On Oct. 3, a photo was published online of a Clemson University report appearing to detail allegations of misconduct by Stewart. Hoffman referenced this document in his statement regarding the articles of impeachment on Monday. Hoffman also referenced the document at the Oct. 9 meeting when he made the first introduction.

The Independent Mail has not been able to authenticate the document.

"I cannot stress enough how the situation has absolutely nothing to do with the flag protests or contain any racial motivation at all," Hoffman said. "Such a narrative is without evidence and completely untrue."

Students also took a seat for the pledge at Monday's meeting.

Stewart was not available for comment early Tuesday evening.

On Oct. 9, Hoffman's motion to hear the articles of impeachment was objected, meaning a vote was required to move the motion forward.

Dunwoodie said the body voted 36–25 in favor of hearing the articles, but he deemed the motion a failure because it did not get a two-thirds majority. As it turns out, his ruling was incorrect, and the motion should have passed when the objection failed to gain a two-thirds majority.

Dunwoodie said he misunderstood the rules governing the vote on Oct. 9. On Monday, he had a copy of the bylaws in front of him and made sure to carefully explain voting processes to student senators throughout the four-hour session.

The senate will meet again on Oct. 30. 

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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