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SA Senate Unanimously Agrees to Impeach Senator in Hearing

By Shawn Ness | March 11, 2024

Senate Chair Erin McGrath during a meeting.

Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / The ASP

After the University at Albany Student Association (SA) unanimously agreed to move forward with an impeachment trial for Senator Ethan Siegel, they also agreed to unanimously impeach him during a special session on Wednesday. 

Siegel did not attend the trial himself, and in his absence was unable to defend himself.

“So the last thing I’ll just say is like, tell your fellow senators to show up if they’re not showing up. Or to resign. That’s also really easy,” Vice President Amelia Crawford, who was presiding over the hearing, said. 

Siegel was impeached for attendance purposes, as he had not attended any meetings during the spring 2024 semester. According to SA bylaw, no Senator may garner over three unexcused absences. The impeachment request passed last week’s session with 14 “yes” votes, zero “no” votes, and 11 abstentions. 

Siegel failed to attend the third meeting of the semester on Feb. 23, thus making him eligible for impeachment. He has also not attended any committee meetings during the semester. 

“Seriously, just show up to your meetings, show up here at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday. It’s not that hard. You come here every Wednesday, your first senate meeting, you take an oath of office,” Rules and Administration Chair Dylan Klein said during opening arguments. “And unfortunately, we’re here seeing someone that has, of course, betrayed that oath, that has failed their constituents and not showing up to represent them within this body and within their committee.”

Senator Emma Rennard echoed many of Klein’s sentiments. 

“Senator Siegel hasn't been here, we understand that there may have been an intention for him to resign, but no such resignation was received. And with that, we have to go through with this repeat of some of the sentiments said before, we don't want to impeach people,” Rennard said. “We want people to be here. But if you're not showing up and you're not following the rules, you don’t get a pass. So do your jobs. Follow the rules, please take this seriously.”

A few Senators noted in the meeting on Feb. 28, that Siegel had every intention to resign, but did not inform Senate leadership of his decision. The ASP reached out to Siegel for clarification but has not yet received a response. 

Newly-elected Senator Nic Feldman noted that the attendance policy is one of the first things introduced to new Senators, it is on page 22 of the SA bylaws and the first clause listed under “Student Association Senate Member Responsibilities.” Feldman also noted that for a body that is actively working to repair its image in the eyes of the student body, it’s detrimental when Senators do not attend meetings. 

Feldman, who was only sworn in on the Feb. 28 meeting, has attended every meeting this semester, even prior to being elected, as well as most of the meetings during the fall semester during his tenure on the SA Supreme Court. 

“I’m sorry, it’s quite frankly very frustrating when you have an oath of office and you have a duty to your constituents. That’s something I take very seriously is my duty to my constituents,” Feldman said. “Obviously I’m very open, I want to help my constituents, and you cannot help your constituents if you’re not here, if you’re not voting.”

Siegel’s impeachment passed with 19 “yes” votes and zero “no” votes, as well as no abstentions. 

The impeachment will be considered by the Supreme Court in the coming weeks.


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