Following Tiffany Onyejiaka’s impeachment for attendance infractions last November, new senior class senator Jeremy Fraenkel was officially sworn in at the end of the Student Government Association’s (SGA) meeting on Tuesday.
The SGA made no official announcement regarding Onyejiaka’s impeachment, but emailed the senior class in January stating that it would accept SGA senator applications.
The email did not provide details on why a vacancy existed in the SGA.
Executive President Charlie Green explained that if a senator has four or more unexcused absences, then the constitution states that the senator must be removed from the senate. The judiciary committee ultimately ruled that Onyejiaka had violated the constitution.
“The judiciary examined Tiffany’s absences very closely and disregarded any that seemed as though they had a chance of not being valid,” Green wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “I met with Sam Sands who is chair of the judicial branch of the SGA to make sure we were correctly following the process.”
The SGA’s general body was informed about the impeachment during a closed session last semester.
Onyejiaka was under consideration for impeachment along with two other senators. Green explained why only Onyejiaka was impeached.
“She was ultimately the only senator impeached because the other senators did not meet the four unexcused absences that result in automatic removal, and therefore the senate voted on their outcomes,” she wrote.
Green explained that the impeachment was not publicized for two reasons.
“1. It was right before break, and if we advertised the senate vacancy we could not act on it until after break and 2. Impeachment trials are dealt with during closed meetings so that we can keep details private,” she wrote.
In response to a question about whether the SGA has a responsibility to notify the student body when a non-elected officials takes office or when a senator is removed, she defended the SGA’s actions.
“[S]tudents should know who is on the senate. That is why SGA meetings are open and transparent so that students can come and meet their representatives, and Syed [Hossain] will let the senior class know that Jeremy is now on SGA,” she wrote.
Two bills were also debated and passed during Tuesday’s meeting.
The first bill, titled the Commemoration Ball Funding Bill, was proposed by Senior Senator Ope Olukorede. It was designed to alleviate the Commemoration Ball’s $14,000 price-tag by spreading the costs amongst co-sponsoring groups.
Olukorede’s bill proposed that as co-sponsors, the Office of Student Life and Involvement and the Development and Alumni Relations Team provide the majority of the logistical and financial support for the Ball.
“This year, we’ve found new ways to make it more reasonable, the cost we’re spending on this event,” Olukorede said.
The second bill debated by the SGA was the Gender Inclusivity Resolution submitted by Anthony Boutros, president of the freshman class council.
A key aspect of the bill was making facilities on Hopkins campuses more gender inclusive and more accommodating for trans students. With the encouragement of Demere Woolway, Director of LGBTQ Life, it was proposed that the Homewood Campus Master Plan have at least one accessible and gender inclusive single occupancy restroom in all new and renovated buildings.
“There are still many buildings on this campus and across other Hopkins campuses that don’t have at least one restroom per building that is gender inclusive,” Boutros said. “The single occupancy bathrooms are also much more acceptable to students with physical disabilities.”
Another important aspect of the resolution was making applications and paperwork released by Hopkins organizations more gender inclusive. It proposes giving more gender options to choose from beside male and female, as well as allowing students to provide their preferred names and gender pronouns.
Junior Simon Barnett was also invited to make a presentation on entrepreneurship and internships at Hopkins. Executive Vice President and junior Anna Du explained the relevance of the subject to the SGA.
“One of SGA’s biggest missions this past year has been entrepreneurship and innovation at Hopkins,” Du said. “And it started out by students coming to the members of the SGA with complaints and concerns about the lack of resources and funding for building an entrepreneurial and innovative community at Hopkins.”
She discussed the establishment of the Student Innovation Committee, designed to help strengthen such a community.
Barnett then presented a program he has been trying to bring to Hopkins: 3 Day Startup (3DS), a non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas, that partners with undergraduate institutions to run three-day entrepreneurial boot camps.
“Over the course of 72 hours, students will form teams to create minimally viable products, which are not really a lot of bells and whistles but just something you can present to investors,” Barnett said.
He explained that its interdisciplinary nature sets it apart from similar organizations like HopHacks.
The meeting concluded with a discussion on ethnic diversity in the University’s different areas of study and staff and the swearing in of new executive treasurer Kenneth-Von Blackmon.
Editor’s Note: This article will be updated shortly to include the perspective of Tiffany Onyejiaka. The News-Letter recognizes its mistake and apologizes for not reaching out to Onyejiaka before the article’s initial publication. We will do better.