Student Government Association senators postponed a decision to impeach Judicial and Rules Committee Chair Natalie Amore after a fellow senator accused her of theft.
Amore’s position would be voted on, the majority decided at Monday night’s SGA meeting, after further investigation and when more tangible evidence is presented.
Sophomore Senator Marquise McMiller filed a police report with the Florida A&M Police Department against Amore on Sept. 13 after his bag, filled with textbooks, notes for classes, bills and official SGA documents went missing from the Senate chambers.
During the SGA meeting, McMiller, from Gary, Ind., said he left the bag hidden in the senate workroom the night before to avoid having to carry the bag on his walk home. The next morning, he discovered the bag was missing. After reviewing the tapes from several cameras located around the Senate chambers, McMiller said he identified Amore, from Miami, as a suspect who removed his bag from the premises and he immediately filed a report.
At the opening of the meeting, McMiller made the motion to remove Amore from the Judicial and Rules Committee.
“Senator Amore has been officially called by the Judicial Affairs Office to stand charges for actions that are contrary to and in violation of our Student Code of Conduct (FANG) and the laws and statutes of the State of Florida, which blemishes the Student Government Association and misrepresents the constituents that elected her,” McMiller stated in a Senate Resolution.
The Senate then voted to have a debate between the accuser and the accused to help senators make a more informed decision. Amore denied all charges and said McMiller had no evidence to prove his claim.
“People misplace things…it’s human nature,” Amore said. “But I didn’t do it. There’s nothing to lie about.”
McMiller, however, spoke to senators and students in attendance about his prior “negative relationship” with Amore and what he saw in the video that made him believe Amore was the culprit. McMiller said he “practically lived in that bag,” and said it was “invaluable” because of the contents. Given Amore’s position with the Judicial and Rules board, McMiller said he believed it was a conflict with Senate policy and to her position to keep her in office.
According to the Student Government Association’s Internal Rules of Procedure, if an “impeachable offense occurs, the senator would be required to appear before the Judicial and Rules Committee and provide evidence to refute accusations of an impeachable offense. The committee would then develop a course of action by a majority vote to either place the senator on probation or recommend the Senate introduce a resolution of censure. Censure is defined as a public condemnation or denouncement of a senator.”
Henry Kirby, dean of student affairs, confirmed that there is an investigation, but said it is against university policy to comment on any investigations involving students.
Once the investigation and the police report reach the judicial office, there should be a resolution within approximately a week, Kirby said.
Amore said she didn’t understand why McMiller brought up the case in the senate meeting while it is still under investigation.
“We have a lot of other issues to focus on like honoring a fallen rattler, and that’s what should be promoted at large to the student body instead of all the drama,” Amore said. “This is belittling our Senate. I would really appreciate it if our constituents looked to a legitimate source – the police department and judicial branch-and not judge me based on just what is said.”
McMiller rejected the assertion that the case shouldn’t have been brought up in a public setting.
“Last time I checked, college is supposed to prepare you for the real world. I don’t believe in sugar-coating anything…if you do things in public, it’s up for public criticism,” McMiller said. “I would have been satisfied if this Senate body would have been willing to investigate, but they basically said ‘this isn’t the right place.’ If this isn’t the right place, what is?”
Kirby agreed and compared the student Senate to the U.S. Senate as a fully functioning political body.
“That’s politics…things are discussed that people would prefer not to be discussed, but as long as it is something that is known publicly then another student can talk about it,” Kirby said. “Freedom of speech within the student Senate still prevails.”