Decision overturned: Rivers still president

It’s final. Larry O. Rivers is the SGA president, according to university administration. Rivers’ impeachment and removal from office was overruled by administrators late last week because the SGA Student Senate’s impeachment “proceedings were unconstitutional,” stated a verdict ruling issued by the Office for Student Affairs Wednesday.

Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Greene-Powell said in a statement that actions taken against Rivers were not valid.

The Senate voted on Sept. 22 to impeach Rivers for what they called “malfeasance” of his duties. On Oct. 1, the Senate heard the impeachment trial of Rivers. Among other things, they cited failure to appoint 17 members to the cabinet, lying to the Senate about appointments and falsifying documents. In the early morning hours of Oct. 2, the senate found Rivers guilty of six of the seven counts and ordered his removal as SGA president.

Greene-Powell’s decision to keep Rivers in office is based on Article III, Section 10 of the SGA Constitution, which states “impeachment shall be instigated by one-third (1/3) vote of the Student Senate membership.” Article III also states impeachment hearings are “tried before Student Supreme Court as a tribunal with the chief justice presiding.”

After citing the Constitution in her ruling, Green-Powell stated, “…the impeachment proceedings were not tried before the Student Supreme Court acting as a tribunal with the Chief Justice presiding. The Supreme Court did not even have a quorum.”

Green-Powell also made reference to Article V, Section 2 of the Constitution, which states: “Five justices shall constitute a quorum. The concurrence of the majority present shall be necessary to render a decision.”

Earlier this week Rivers said he has not stopped working for the students and will continue to do so. He said he’s been interviewing applicants for the vacant SGA positions and expects several of his nominees to go before the Senate for confirmation as early as Monday.

“I’m happy we can put all of this behind us… and just concentrate on campus improvement,” Rivers said Monday.

Senate President Michael Morton could not be reached for comment, but said last week at a senate meeting regarding Rivers’ appeal, “once a decision has been rendered by Green-Powell then the senate will follow accordingly.”