SGA President Larry O. Rivers may lose his job today in what could become the most important trial in FAMU’s student government history.
The impeachment trial, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. in the senate chamber, will have the four appointed Supreme Court justices presiding and the senate serving as the jury.
The trial will also include two new impeachment charges against Rivers. While the original impeachment motion said Rivers’ conduct was “malfeasance” in regards to the his appointment to the Student Supreme Court, Senate President Michael Morton sent a memorandum Sept. 23 saying Rivers violated two additional statues in the Student Body Constitution.
Morton mentioned, along with the qualified appointment violation, “acts of moral turpitude” and ” malfeasance of his duty to fill vacant positions within the Student Government Association” as reasons for his impeachment.
“President Rivers was accused of malfeasance of statutory job duties, which include Article IV, Section 5, Letter C of the student constitution and Title 9, Chapter 900.1 Section A of the [student body] statutes,” Morton said.
The Senate’s order of impeaching Rivers has caused conflict within its own body. Sen. Ramon Alexander, chairman of the Judicial and Rules Committee said Rivers should receive fair due process.
” When have you ever seen any public official be impeached without a formal investigation?” Alexander asked. “That alone should completely motivate the student body to be irate about the irresponsible actions of their student leadership.”
A Judicial Interpretation released Monday by the Student Supreme Court said while each branch of the SGA has a specific duty to uphold, it is the duty of the judicial branch to interpret the law.
Chief Justice Maya Simmons said while the Supreme Court will proceed over the trial for interpretation, the senate would still render the verdict.
“The student body constitution states that the senate shall determine guilt by two-thirds vote,” Simmons said.
Jarrett Tyus, who was fired as solicitor general last week by Rivers, will serve as special senate prosecutor. Rivers has repeatedly said he will not take part in the trial.
Tyus said it is Rivers’ privilege to not attend.
” President Rivers is well within his rights not to attend the hearing, at his own peril,” Tyus said.
Convinced that the trial is unlawful, Rivers stands firm by his belief that the main plaintiffs in the case (the senate) should not be allowed to pass judgment.
“The process ordered by the chief justice is flagrantly unconstitutional,” Rivers said. “Through this memorandum, [Simmons] has attempted to override the constitutional system of checks and balances. In effect, she attempted to create a process in which the student body president is charged, convicted and sentenced by a jury of his accusers.”
Garrison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org