10:30 p.m. update: The Texas State University student government voted to impeach student president Connor Clegg Monday night, removing him from office two days before his term expires in a case that has roiled this campus for months.
“I am thrilled, happy, excited, overwhelmed,” said Emmy Orioha, president of the school’s Pan African Action Committee. “It’s incredible to see student power making a difference at this university.”
Clegg, who faced impeachment based on his threat to de-fund the school newspaper after it published a controversial column on whiteness in December, said he wasn’t surprised by the hearing’s outcome. “I’m ok, I completed a full year,” he said. “Texas State is going through growing pains right now.”
The issue of his impeachment had galvanized student opinion on a campus where issues of race, diversity and a steady stream of neo-Nazi flyers and banners have sparked a wave of student activism over the last year. Clegg had also come under fire for what university President Denise Trauth had denounced as offensive and racist social media posts.
Unlike last week, when 19 senators skipped a planned impeachment hearing -- preventing a quorum and quashing a vote -- nearly every student representative showed up Monday night.
Student senators attributed the high attendance to the fact that the student government had been scheduled to hold its annual banquet Monday night, and all but one had confirmed they would attend that function. On Friday, student government leaders cancelled the banquet and replaced it with the impeachment hearing amid warnings to senators to attend. School administrators have said they are investigating the mass absences.
“This is a relief,” said senator Claudia Gasponi, who led the impeachment charge. “Student opinion has been ignored for too long by our administration and student government.”
A packed auditorium at the school’s LBJ Student Center erupted in applause after student leaders found Clegg guilty on six articles of impeachment.
During the hearing, Clegg criticized the sit-in students held for three days following the failed impeachment attempt last week. “A lot of people lost a lot of respect for this school because of the last three days,” he said. “Frankly, it’s an utter shame that the administration allowed this campus to be held hostage.”
Clegg urged senators to vote against him, saying that some senators had received threatening text messages, and that he worried for their “safety” if they voted for him. The comment drew loud boos from the crowd.
7:12 p.m. update: All 40 Texas State University student senators have showed up to a hearing to vote on the impeachment of student body president Connor Clegg. With no absences, the trial is set to proceed.
This is a developing story; check back for details.
Earlier: The Texas State University student government will hold a rescheduled impeachment vote for student body president Connor Clegg on Monday at 7 p.m., following a tumultuous week at the San Marcos campus.
A planned impeachment vote last Wednesday was scuttled when nearly half the university’s student senators missed the hearing, preventing the establishment of a quorum. That sparked three days of protest, during which angry students staged a sit-in at the LBJ Student Center and forced administrators to take action on a series of demands.
Protesting students voted to end the sit-in Friday night following a three-hour meeting with administrators, after which school officials detailed updates on series of issues related to increasing diversity among faculty and course offerings.
That same night, the school’s Dean of Students office announced that a planned student government banquet would be cancelled Monday night in order to hold the rescheduled impeachment hearing.
Administrators said they planned to release the results of a campus climate survey this week, as well as more information about the development of an African-American studies minor in the fall of 2019, the hiring of an immigration attorney and the possibility of more diversity courses in the school’s core curriculum.
The impeachment of Clegg, whose term ends later this week, has become a largely symbolic effort that has crystallized months of frustration at the university, which has been the frequent target of neo-Nazi groups, who have distributed flyers and hung banners in the last year.
Many minority students say the administration’s response to the incidents has fallen short and that they don’t feel safe on campus. Activism at the school has increased over the last year, as students say the school has not adjusted to growing numbers of diverse students.
According to the school, the percentage of white students has fallen from 56.9 percent in 2012 to 46.7 percent in the fall of 2017. The percentage of Hispanic students increased from 27.9 percent to 35.9 percent and African-American students increased from 7.2 percent to 11 percent.
Clegg faces impeachment charges related to threats he made to de-fund the school newspaper following the publication of a controversial column on whiteness called “Your DNA is an abomination.” Clegg had also come under fire after several of his social media posts surfaced that university President Denise Trauth had condemned as offensive and racist.