Written by Juston Lewis, Stadd Writer
A rarity occurred at the weekly SGA meeting when Senator Dillon Rountree was proposed for impeachment by Senator Aisha Johnson.
SGA held its weekly public meeting on Monday night even with the absence of SGA president Maya Mapp who was in Atlanta working on the Presidential Search Committee. The meeting was conducted by SGA vice president Othellious Cato and other members of the executive board.
Throughout the course of the meeting the topics of business shifted from appropriating funds for the Honors Association’s Rolling Meadows Carnival to donning support for the Black Student League’s “VSYou: V-State Experience?” forum happening this week. Walker Lee was also approved as a judicial justice of SGA. SGA is also in discussion with parking and transportation to add section G of Oak parking lot to overnight parking which would allow for additional parking for students.
When the executive board opened the floor to all senators, Aisha Johnson motioned for the impeachment of Senator Dillon Rountree.
Johnson accused Rountree of not influencing SGA in a positive manner. Johnson listed two instances where Rountree posted into a Valdosta State Class of 2018 Facebook group page and received outrage from other students. One of those instances came from a post by a Black Student League member about a celebration that Kendrick Johnson’s family was having for what would have been his 21st birthday.
Rountree commented on the post: “Y’all are just milking this kid’s death at this point.”
That comment was not received well and garnered a large response from multiple students on the post. One of the students brought this issue to the attention of President Mapp and Vice President Cato to which Rountree responded: “Crying to them, really? That’s just childish.”
Rountree backed his responses by quoting numerous civil and federal officials that had looked into the case. He also posted a reddit.com link to back his comments and the position he took.
Senator Johnson listed a second incident on Facebook where Rountree posted in that same group that if you are voting democratic you should stay home and vote online. Johnson said this post was in poor taste because of the close relationship that SGA has with Lowndes County and its assistance with voter registration in the community.
“I understand freedom of speech but once you post on a public VSU page you are representing us, and not just yourself,” Johnson said during the debate.
Johnson’s points were not strong enough to influence members of the senate to put Rountree on trial. Only five of the senators voted in favor of a trail while the remaining senators abstained from voting.
With this being a rarity it was a question of if the procedure was followed and done appropriately but Othellious Cato made sure to do everything properly in Mapp’s absence.
“All of the proceedings were done appropriately and by the rules,” Cato said.
During the debate Rountree was seen laughing almost in a sarcastic manner and he admitted that he was annoyed by the process.
“A few things they said were blatant lies,” Rountree said after the meeting. “When someone goes and lies in public about you and I couldn’t actually say anything at the moment, all I could do was shake my head that did annoy me a little bit.”
Rountree talked about integrity and how important it was to him and he showed that by staying grounded.
“To be honest I probably won’t be hopping on the 2018 Facebook page anymore,” Rountree said. “I refuse to tone it back on my personal Facebook page because I don’t post anything that is particularly egregious on there. I didn’t think those two posts were particularly egregious but people did take issue and it caused a controversy.”
Johnson said she wasn’t against him freely speaking but thought that as a SGA senator he should not have fed into the controversy. She said that he shouldn’t have continued to reply and he should not have brought this attention to SGA.
Johnson said that she does not want her actions to give SGA a “bad look” and hopes her actions will actually encourage more students to join the organization.
“By me bringing up this issue, I hope that students see this is not how a senator should act and senators will see that they aren’t just representing themselves but they represent VSU’s entire student body.”
Johnson said she doesn’t know how things will be going forward.
“This is the first time I’ve actually put someone up for impeachment. This is the first time it has happened since I’ve been in SGA,” Johnson said. “I won’t have any personal bias against him and I will treat him like any other SGA senator.”