Impeachment of Cunningham is For Real This Time!

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Despite (former!) GSSC President Niko Cunningham’s cries of unconstitutionality and some Maps of Injustice™ pointing to a lack of quorum, Dean of Students and Associate Dean of Faculty/GS Mary McGee has ruled that Tuesday’s vote to impeach Cunningham is, in fact, legitimate. This makes President Cunningham president no longer. In fact, GSSC VP of Policy Nancy Saunders has already assumed (been sworn into?) the position.

McGee’s full email after the jump.

Dear GS students,


At the Tuesday, April 8th meeting of the General Studies Student Council, a motion was made to impeach the GSSC president, Niko Cunningham.  The GS Constitution requires a quorum for such a vote, and a two-thirds majority is needed for the motion to pass. Fifteen members constitute a quorum of this 22-member voting body, and it was reported to me that twelve people voted in favor of impeachment and three against.  By this vote, Mr. Cunningham was impeached.  After this happened, Mr. Cunningham asked Dean Stellini, advisor to the GSSC, and me to review the procedures of the meeting and to investigate the validity of the vote.  We took Mr. Cunningham’s concerns seriously.  Based on our review of the matter and the information we gathered, we found no evidence that there was a violation of the constitution or the rules, and I communicated this to Mr. Cunningham.  The GSSC Constitution provides for the Vice President for Policy to assume the position of the president in such an instance.  Therefore, Nancy Saunders is now serving as President of the GSSC and I have met with her to discuss the remaining work to be done by the GSSC as this academic year winds down.


As you may be aware, the election process for next academic year’s GSSC is now underway.  I urge you to attend the debates and read the profiles of the candidates for the various GSSC positions. The GSSC represents the GS student body and your concerns in many capacities in working not only with the GS administration, but with other offices and student groups across campus.  Your participation in the voting process can make a difference in selecting the student leaders who will advocate on behalf of the GS undergraduate student body.




Mary McGee

Dean of Students and Associate Dean of Faculty/GS


11 April 2008




  1. if only  

    Niko made movies like the LE:MON party!!!

  2. wtf  

    you need 15 people to impeach, but only 12 actually voted for the motion.


    this email does not explain why the motion was constitutional; the only evidence it gives suggests precisely the opposite position.

    Can someone help me - what am i missing?

    • mathyness  

      Man oh man, it's sadthat you need a writing major to explain some fairly simple math to you, but here goes:
      They need to have quorum in order to vote. Quorum for the GSSC is 15, and 15 people were present.
      They need 2/3rds, or about 33.3%, of the GSSC to vote in favor of impeachment for it to count. 12 of 22 voted in favor. If my calculations are correct, and it's entirely possible they are not (see above re: writing major), 12 of 22 is about 54%, over 2/3rds majority.
      So, basically, they needed fifteen people to hold a vote, but only twelve had to vote in favor for the impeachment to count.
      Get it?

    • Uhm..

      Uhm.. quorum was established with 15 of 22 present. 12 voted for impeachment and 3 against. What don't you understand?

  3. what do you  

    a really smart piece of lunch meat?

    a cunning-ham!

  4. what do you  

    call a really smart piece of lunch meat?

    a cunning-ham!

  5. Well then...  

    Who are the clowns now?

  6. Are you serious?

    22 People on the GSSC
    2/3 of that required for quorum = 15
    2/3 of quorum required to impeach = 10
    12>10 Motion passes

  7. ugh  

    I'm so disgusted by the notion that the university wants to merge these immature, inane children with Columbia College.

  8. ahah  

    did not realize 2/3 applied to quorum, not to the council in general.

    clearly i am wrong since if 2/3 of the council voted against smart lunch meat, that would have to be 15 people - which would be a quorum. assuming the founding fathers of the GSSC constitution were not predisposed to unnecessary constitutional provisions, they would not have put the quorum requirement in had the 2/3 majority applied to the council as a whole.

  9. i wonder  

    If future employers will retract job offers to Mr. Cunningham after they found out he got impeached...

    • purple

      Imagine the line on his resume if the impeachment hadn't been recognized by the deans. "Leadership/Work Experience: 1) Played an integral role in coordinating....
      2) Successfully contested impeachment by student council before the deans of General Studies, Spring 2008."

  10. hmm  

    Cunningham was saying that there are 23 members of the GSSC voting body, therefore 15/23 does not constitute 2/3. McGee said that there were 22 voting members, so is McGee not counting Cunningham as a voting member since he is the one being impeached, so he cannot vote on his own impeachment?

    • yea

      that is the real question.

      i think it is clear that only 10 out of 15 are needed to impeach as it is 2/3rds of quorum. what is not clear to me is how many voting members there are. mcgee says 22. niko says 23. that seems to be the issue.

  11. mathyness

    Here's a brain teaser for you. Is a half more than two thirds?

  12. confused

    why did this assclown get impeached?

  13. GScynic

    Actually, I have no real opinion of this, given that I have no knowledge of any of the supposed wrongdoings- I'm mostly just annoyed about what this whole debacle does for our image as a school within columbia.

  14. Constitutional  

    So yeah.

    I just looked on the GSSC website gslounge.com/gssc

    It turns out there are 23 members of student council including Niko.

    Here's where their 22 come into play, in 99% of votes the President does not have a vote. In other words he doesn't count as a voting member.

    Quorum is defined as in Article VIII section 1a) "Quorum shall be defined as two-thirds of all eligible voting members of the GSSC"

    Now here is the issue. Was Niko an eligible voting member? The student body president only has a vote in the event of a tie. HOWEVER, he also has a vote in that special case. Which COULD be construed as him having the status of being an eligible voting member, even if that power can only be enacted in certain situations.

    There is a very fine difference and it's not one that is usually expressed very well.

    I doubt Niko knew about this one.

    This is not to say, of course, that he's not pretentious but they really actually need to vote again...

  15. rolls  

    Cunningham claims that a motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. Then a motion was made to impeach. From all my years of model UN and council, I have never heard of a motion to adjourn that was already being seconded being interrupted by another motion.

  16. CU-proud/GS-cringe-y

    This whole this is just an embarrassment, seriously. I generally avoid the "GS/BC sucks-CC/SEAS rules" debates (will likely bore you, too, 10 birthdays from now) but feel compelled to jump in at this point. As a GS student with a FT off-campus life I've never understood the drive to recreate our late teens by diving back in to college traditions like Student Council, campus dances, bake sale clubs, etc. Campus life obviously plays a vital role in young adult socialization...but we're all growns up now, folks. Personally, I come to campus to flex mah brain. Other than that, I prefer the lifestyle of the most vital and socio-eco diverse 'hood in NYC (not MS Heights, sorry) and taking full advantage of being over 21 in the most stimulating city in the world.

    Sure, GS needs an administrative body to keep us linked to our sister-colleges in the University. But could we focus more on the real needs of CU's most diverse college and less on Keeping Up With The Joneses? I could give a rat's patooty whether we have a big enough budget to throw an Annual Formal on par with the other colleges. I suffer fancy-dress events in real life, don't really need to practice on campus, thanks. (And judging by the ratio of past ticket sales to the actual GS head count I'm not the only one.)

    I guess I'm asking GSSC for a reality check. Please acknowledge that we are most definitely different from CC/SEAS/BC, with different needs AND different strengths to bring to the table, and start administering as such. Stop whining about low morale and attendance and start scheduling meetings and events a) when we actually have time in our schedules b) in areas we actually live/hang, and c) around themes that matter to real-world adults. I'm sure we could facilitate with modern biz tech (Skype, con-calls) like many of us already do in real life.

    This is a rant, I know. I guess in closing...I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn in these halls. In selecting GS I was inspired by the alums before me that also walked their own path in life and in their careers: breaking from traditional timelines, cultural norms and expectations; embracing a constant flow of both classroom and experiential knowledge. I want future GS applicants to be inspired by our academic and creative accomplishments...NOT whether a 30-yr old got to tack "Student Council President" to the end of an already impressive resume.

    • Amen  

      hell, I'm CC08 and I think our student council spends entirely too much time and money on high school-esque bullshit. GS should be setting a mature example

    • Beautiful

      #26 for GS President.

    • Yeah  

      I'm CC '09 and #26 just cut through all the bullshit. that is excellent. way to be, # 26, way to be.

    • GS'07

      I agree with much of what you say - to a point. However, there are important social resources for GS'ers on campus, too, that can be organized along traditional collegiate lines. A great example is the student-veterans group, US Military Veterans of Columbia University (or MilVets), which has accomplished quite a bit since it was started in 2002. Away from Columbia, you just aren't going to find many Ivy League pedigreed soldiers anywhere, so the student group serves as a convenient gathering point that can hardly be matched in "real life" for Columbia's military veterans.

      I'm sure the GSSC works to a similar end as well, insofar as bringing together like-minded classmates. GSSC as a representative body for GS students, though? I don't know - like you, I'm proud to be a Columbia, but I was largely disconnected from the campus and GS social scene when I was a GS'er.

      Too bad about Niko - I liked him. Voted for him, too.

  17. Hah  

    Should've voted for Breen....

  18. Beautiful

    Truth. Gabrielle Breen is looking really good right now.

  19. wow this is dumb

    Who really gives a shit who's on the student council or what school is better or who took who to whatever formal or why aren't there better dance-a-thons on campus? It makes more sense for CC to be this way, as they are in their late teens or early twenties....but for GS to be embroiled in this kind of crap is just...wow. I'm speechless. People who have this much free time should increase their courseload.

  20. dudeeeee

    he's way too cute to impeach. :(

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