An Analysis of the Strangest October of Congress | Marianopolis World Review
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An Analysis of the Strangest October of Congress

17/10/2016

As many of you may or may not know, a petition was put forth to begin the review process for the impeachment of Diana Di Iorio, VP of congress. That petition received upwards of 200 signatures and now the school is losing its mind. The Facebook page of the MSU is littered with MWR articles and student criticism regarding the issues, but one thing remained pretty consistent throughout the vast majority these posts: no one knew what was truly going on.  People were ultimately just commenting on the issues where the only basis of their arguments are “I heard this from someone,” or “Trust me, I know (insert name here) personally.” This is why I ultimately took matters into my own hands. I read the constitution, as well as the bylaws, and I conducted interviews with both Diana and Tiffany, as well as asked members of congress their thoughts on the matter. Here is why the decision against Diana Di Iorio’s impeachment was the right one.

The process for impeachment isn’t entirely well defined. There are no constitutionally outlined impeachable offences. The process begins when a member of the student union sends a grievance letter to congress with a minimum of 50 signatures by other members of the union. The grounds for which the individual would be impeached are therefore enshrined in the arguments of that letter. Let’s quickly summarize those claims for impeachment within that letter, as they are pretty simple. The argument is that the VP is not fulfilling her mandate as outlined by the bylaws and is failing on her campaign promises. Before getting into anything else, here is a quick copy-paste of the VP’s mandate from the congress bylaws and what her actual campaign promises were. Beneath each mandate or promise, I will write about the current state of its actualization.

 

Signature --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

 

1.4.2.1 Serving as the primary liaison between Congress and the MSU’s student clubs. This includes the following: working with the Vice-President of Finance to communicate with Club Executives, helping the Executive Advisor organize a Club Planning Session at the beginning of each semester and organize a Club Guide, ensuring Club Executives attend Congress meetings in order to report their Club’s progress and upcoming plans, and ensuring that all Club Executives submit a year-end report to Congress and file these reports in order for them to be accessible for future executives.

The Club Planning Session has already taken place and the club guide has been presented. The process of meeting individual Club Execs has already begun (starting with the Ping Pong club) and is going to continue throughout the school year. Year-end reports cannot be collected and filed because, by the time of this publication, we are only in the second full month of school. Regarding communications with Club Execs with the VPF, the vast majority of those communications occur through the VPF because the main point of discourse between Execs and Congress are regarding finances, to which the VPF is clearly the more relevant actor.

 

1.4.2.2 Acting as the Chief Electoral Officer for all Congress elections, by-elections, and referenda.

The responsibilities of the Chief Electoral Officer is to remain involved with the campaigns of the candidates, to make sure they follow the election procedures and to award them demerits when they don’t. According to members of the ERC, Diana performed all of these functions during the beginning of the semester election period. Diana did not attend the First-Year Congress debate for cause of pressing medical issues to tend to.

 

1.4.2.3 Attend all possible interviews for prospective Congress Candidates.

She attended all of the interviews and even went above her mandate to write the interview questions, according to Congress members.

 

1.4.2.4 Acting as the Interim President when the President is unable to fulfill his/her duties.

Anthony Koch has never been in a position where he was unable to fulfill his duties, therefore Diana has never needed to step up as Interim President.

 

1.4.2.5 Acting as a voting member of Congress’ Financial Policy Committee;

While Diana has not been a vast contributor to the proceedings of the FPC, she has attended all meetings and has taken part in all voting procedures.

 

1.4.2.6 Acting as the Chairperson of the Elections and Referenda Committee;

(See reasoning for article 1.4.2.2)

 

1.4.2.7 Acting as a Director on the Board of Governors of the College if he/she is at least 18 years old, or otherwise he/she is responsible for appointing a replacement of legal age from Congress.

Only one meeting of the Board has taken place where both Diana and Anthony acted as the representatives of the MSU.

 

 

Let us now dive into Diana’s campaign promises.

Free food Fridays

This has not come to fruition because the venue that would distribute the food is in the process of being built. Beyond this, negotiations with the management of the cafeteria have already taken place and the cafeteria staff has agreed on the implementation of this initiative. The students of Marianopolis will get their free smoothies one Fridays once the bistro and smoothie bar have actually been built.

 

Promoting activism involving eating disorders

A guest speaker has been booked to come to Marianopolis during NEDA (National Eating Disorder Awareness) Week which is in February.

 

Creating inter-program competitions

This has been actively discussed by Congress who has ruled it as being logistically improbable due to the nature of the wildly varied population sizes of each of the programs. For example, if the Health Sciences students played a game of football against the Arts and Sciences students, there would probably be fatalities.

 

Creating the MariAmazing Race

The fall semester at Marianopolis is full of events ranging from the Foam Party in September, to the Halloween themed events in October and more festive events during the holiday season. The spring semester on the other hand is devoid of these holidays and holiday related events, therefore the decision has been made to have the MariAmazing Race take place during the second semester of the school year, where activities would not otherwise take place.

 

Having Marianopolis DJ’s perform at parties and at other events

The decision to not have a Marianopolis DJ at the Foam Party was one that was the conclusion of a discussion by congress, and the approval of the Coordinator of Social Activities. This by no means sets a standard for future parties and discussion for a Marianopolis DJ-off has already begun.

 

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A point of contention that comes up is “is it potentially misleading to voters that all of these promises will only take place in the second semester?” The easy answer to this is: no. The coordination and planning of an event should never occur on the basis of it occurring as soon as possible, it should occur on the basis of the actual impact that it creates within the community. Take the eating disorder awareness campaign for example, the impacts of an isolated speaker coming in an October AP aren’t incredibly profound. Conversely, if you have that same speaker come during NEDA Week, where campaigns for eating disorder activism are occurring all across the country, that speaker is able to create an even greater impact because people would be constantly reminded of the importance of this kind of activism outside of their schooling and within society. The message becomes reinforced by other external forces. The same thing goes with the MariAmazing Race, students don’t want to blow their entire activities budget on a solid two months of partying and then do nothing for the rest of the year. People want to feel like they are having fun at Mario at all points in the school year and that involves delaying some events to times in which there is a lull in activities.

This leaves us with the only Di Iorio campaign promise which might not actually come to fruition: inter-program competitions. While political figures should ultimately aspire to have an agenda of activities and policies that are actively pursued throughout their term in power, it is absolutely understandable that a couple of those agenda points, in this case one, are not put into effect. The only time in which it is unacceptable to go back on a campaign promise or promises is when it fundamentally alters the nature of the campaign. Let’s use Anthony Koch as an example. He ran on the promise of accrediting the MSU, this was the very core of his campaign. Individuals would be unable to describe Anthony’s time as president without using the word accreditation. If Anthony had failed in getting the Student Union accredited, then he would not be pursuing the major part of the platform that he campaigned on and he would be labeled as an ineffective president. Diana, on the other hand, ran her campaign on a multitude of promises.  Her platform is not characterized by any individual piece of legislation, but more so by the variety of issues brought up. Her platform’s core values are not affected when individual campaign promises are unable to be kept. It would be ridiculous to say that she is failing her mandate if inter-program competitions are cancelled.

Furthermore, the impeachment camp has also claimed that support for the removal of Diana Di Iorio has origins within Congress itself. This claim is the result of a miscommunication between the two bodies. Congress members have made it explicitly clear that they support the right of the student body to enact the impeachment process, as it is one of the methods in which congress becomes accountable towards the MSU. According to Congress, never did any of its members state that they in fact support the intended result of the petition.

At the end of the day, the assertion that Diana is not fulfilling her mandates or campaign promises to the extent that she should be removed from Congress is ultimately absurd and unsubstantiated. Diana might not have gotten through the entirety of her mandate or campaign promises, but it is also ridiculous to expect her to have accomplished all of her goals by October. In conclusion, for these reasons, Congress’ final decision on the matter was the right one. I implore the Student Union to lend a more critical eye to issues of the sort, and to start generating arguments based in facts in the event of a similar petition.

 

Written by MWR guest writer Michael Di Giorgio, edited by the MWR team