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GS Senator Ramond Curtis Faces Impeachment

Bwog recently received information that a procedure of impeachment has been started against current GS Senator Ramond Curtis by members of General Studies Student Council. A current member of the council and candidate at the recent GSSC election condemned Ramond’s actions during the elections and subsequently filed this impeachment process. This member has declined to comment until the next council meeting on Tuesday at 8:15pm.

Update, as of 4/11/2017, 10:46pm: Because of a required 3/4 majority vote for impeachment, Curtis will remain on the council. Twelve people voted in favor of his impeachment, and seven voted against.

What happened?

During the week of campaigning, several members of GSSC, including several E-board members, publicly endorsed candidates on Facebook for the election. After these endorsements came out, Senator Ramond Curtis, in his official capacity, publicly condemned them in a post (see screenshot) that specifically denounced current GSSC President Larosa’s endorsement of two other members of GSSC for election: Dennis Zhao, current VP of communications who was running for President, and Raison Flor, current Chief of Policy who was running for VP of Policy.

It must be noted that at the last GSSC meeting, CEB commented that no members of GSSC can ever endorse candidates. However, they were willing to forgive any behavior that occurred due to the confusing aspect of CEB rules. Curtis’ own actions were scrutinized by the council, who was split over whether Curtis had been right to point out these wrongs. Some believed that including the names of candidates in the post jeopardized their chances at election. Others pointed out that Curtis had also helped candidates with their campaigns.

Grounds for Impeachment: GSSC Rules of Conduct

The proposal for impeachment cites Ramond’s public accusation of GSSC President Larosa and the implication of Dennis Zhao and Raisa Flor as grounds for impeachment. In the authors’ views, Ramond’s public accusation, in his official capacity as GS senator, is a “blatant abuse of his position on GSSC and the University Senate.” The author of this impeachment proposal also points to the fact that Ramond lacked proof for his accusations. He also claims that “Julian’s actions and my campaign have been vindicated by The Columbia Elections Board.”

He considered Curtis’ actions to be a violation of GSSC’s Constitution (Article III, Section 3), which states:

a.  Every member of the GSSC must maintain the highest standard of conduct for the duration of his or her service. Council members will:

  • i. Behave ethically and respectfully in pursuit of official duties.
  • ii. Not abuse their authority in any way
  • iii. Recognize that any disciplinary or legal charges incurred during his or her term of service that comes to the attention of the council could subject the member to disciplinary actions up to and including impeachment.
  • iv. Will not speak or enter into agreement on behalf of the GSSC without explicit consent from relevant members of the council.

b. A member of the council acknowledges that he or she is representing the GS student body and the university, and that any violation of the GSSC Code of Conduct or the University Code of Conduct will be reported to the Student Life Office and will be considered grounds for impeachment.

Grounds for Impeachment: Violations of University Rules of Conduct

The author has also filed three violations of University Rules of Conduct. However, since the Columbia Administration has still not gotten back to him, he does not expand on the violations so as to avoid defaming Curtis. Other instances of misconduct were also enumerated in this proposal for impeachment (see full document).

Curtis’ Response

In an email that was sent to Bwog, Curtis answered the proposal for impeachment, which had not been yet made public. In his rebuttal, he focused on the negative impact that this impeachment would have on the General Studies students themselves. He pointed out that “as per Article VI Section 6 Subsection c of the GSSC bylaws, if impeached, the University Senator will remain on the University Senate, while continuing to advocate for the needs of GS students.” Thus, an impeachment would only prevent him from communicating with GSSC, which would only have a negative effect on students. As he understands it, it is in the “best interest of GSSC and our students for the University Senator to sit on GSSC, giving our students more of a voice in affecting positive change.”

The Logistic of Impeachment

Some logistical issues stand in the way of this impeachment, however. It is important to note that according to Article 4 Section subsection c of the GSSC Constitution:

“Once the reports have been reviewed, impeachment proceedings will take place during the council’s next scheduled meeting. The member in question has the right to be present for all discussion and will be given the opportunity to defend him & or herself to the full council. A secret ballot will then be taken. If there is a ¾ majority consensus, the member will be dismissed from office.”

Thus, the concerns are:

  1.  It is very rare in General Studies Student Council history that all members be present at meetings. If there are some missing members, does that mean the vote cannot take place?
  2. As we have seen with last week’s meeting, the council was split over their opinion of Curtis’ actions. A ¾ majority consensus is thereby anything but given.

Facebook post from Curtis last week:

The full impeachment letter:

Impeachment Ramond Curtis by Bwog on Scribd

Ramond’s response:

Ramond Curtis Rebuttal by Bwog on Scribd

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Wait, we have a student council?

  • Rusty Nips says:

    @Rusty Nips Do we have proof? Show me the time stamped email. Also don’t candidates and council receive emails before student Body?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous You time stamp appears in the new GSSC post.

  • Rusty Nips says:

    @Rusty Nips Can CEB give us raw data on whether or not this stupid posted actually impacted the results? It seems like this is retaliation for one candidate losing. Can we prove whether or not the post had a significant impact on the election?

    1. Salty Nips says:

      @Salty Nips This couldn’t have been retaliation because it was filed before results were released.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The public GS Students Facebook page should be shut down. There has been so much wrong happening there for a long time.

  • Darth Vader says:

    @Darth Vader This is dumb. Seriously council, move on!

  • jesus says:

    @jesus grow up. You are supposed to represent the GS student body, but from this exchange, none of you seems to represent the GS students that I’ve met on campus. I’m embarassed for you, Geez~

  • Just an observation says:

    @Just an observation Geez, Columbia student politics can be vicious.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous From the outside looking in, this seems like a pet project by a small group of people who have been coming for this dude for a sec.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I’m not sure if this is the right moment, but he’s a shitty guy so it was bound to happen sooner or later.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Do we care.? There is like three weeks left of school.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous There is reason to care since University Senator position is a 2 year term unlike other positions so he would be serving as Senator all of next year as well.

  • SJW says:

    @SJW Raymond’s excuse sounds like what abusive spouses say when they’re threatened with a divorce. “You can’t leave me. I bring food to the table.”

  • Not my senator says:

    @Not my senator Impeach da bieatch

  • Fred Flinstone says:

    @Fred Flinstone Ramonds rebuttal isn’t published but the accusation is? Also, was there a vote last week over his actions? It seems that the entire council isn’t necessary to be present as it says they have a right defend themselves to the full council. Nothing says every member must be present as emergencies happen often.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Lol hay Rayyyy

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous LaRosa did more than endorse. He actively campaigned and privately messaged people, at least 1 student leader, to solicit votes.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous If you have any proof of this, please send to tips.

      1. Anony-Moose says:

        @Anony-Moose This “Anonymous” person is clearly Ramond. Also as this article clearly points out, everything President LaRosa did was vindicated by CEB. Not sure why “anonymous” is continuing to slander President LaRosa with false information.

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