Tensions ran high at yesterday’s Associated Students meeting as the Senate took the first steps to remove A.S. President John Ahn from the head of the student government.
This action came after a complaint was presented to the Senate that accused Ahn of verbal and religious harassment against another member of the Senate.
The Senate sent the matter to the Judicial Committee to review the complaint and agreed to suspend Ahn of his authority as president until the committee makes its decision.
The process began when Sen. Wayne Bergman presented the complaint to the Senate and moved to send the matter for judicial review. The motion passed without opposition and Vice President Joey Victor immediately took over Ahn’s duties at the meeting.
If Ahn is impeached, Victor would move into Ahn’s position with the new Executive Pro-Tem and head of the A.S. Judicial Committee, Joshua Kleinbergs, acting as vice president.
The complaint, which was unsigned and not attributed to a specific senator, alleges that Ahn used his position of authority to “harass and belittle” another member of the Senate and that he tried to force that senator to “sign a contract that required my religious participation in his view of the Christian faith practice.”
The contract that was attached to the complaint included Ahn’s desire for the senator to:
•Attend church service every Sunday
•Read a chapter of the Bible every day
•Meet with a Bible instructor for two hours each week
•Commit to self-prayer every day
Ahn also added, “This contract has no intentions to force religion in [the senator’s] life but [be] an educational step toward a collaborative effort.”
However, the complaint included accusations that Ahn believed the sexual orientation of the senator to be an issue and tried repeatedly to change the senator’s lifestyle.
At the meeting, Ahn issued an apology to the Senate but stood by his assessment of the senator’s ability to be in a position of authority.
“It was very hard for me to appoint someone to serve in a management position because I did not see the character of them being able to be a leader and manage those issues smoothly,” said Ahn.
But the complaint claimed that the actions of Ahn were less related to A.S. business and more about personal interests in the student.
“I can tell you that there were personal feelings involved,” said Ahn.
At the meeting, Ahn claimed that he broke off contact with the senator but that individual called him repeatedly, even leaving him a voicemail cursing him out.
Darlene Jensen, the Director of Student Affairs and advisor of A.S., first became aware of the situation last Tuesday, but also added that no formal complaint had been filed with her.
“I have not personally received a written/signed complaint from anyone. The first written/unsigned complaint that I have seen was distributed during the A.S. Senate Meeting,” said Jensen.
Ahn defended his actions by claiming that they were made in the best interest of the senator and A.S.
“I just wanted unity on every decision I’ve made […] I can only be humble. I too am a student that’s learning,” said Ahn.
The A.S. Judicial Committee called an emergency meeting for this evening to decide whether or not to impeach Ahn for his actions.
Stephanie Ornelas and Greg Diaz also contributed to this story.