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SA Senator Resigns, Canceling Impeachment Hearing

By Shawn Ness | February 26, 2024


Senator Dylan Klein discussing the impeachment trial.

Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / The ASP


Upon being notified of his impeachment trial, former Senator Andrew Ong Garcia sent a scathing email on Tuesday to Senator Dylan Klein and other members of the Rules and Administration Committee, calling them a gang of “self-righteous sheep” and “tryhards,” and then promptly resigned his position as International Student Senator.


“As much as I would have loved to see you all sneer and cackle at this Wednesday’s trial, I will have to resign from my position as International Senator effective immediately,” Ong Garcia wrote in the email that was provided to the ASP. “As I do have more productive things to do with my Wednesday evening than sit around and watch a bunch of pretend Senators pat each other on the back under the guise of ‘service.’”


Ong Garcia only attended one meeting during the 2023-24 academic year, which he left early.


Ong Garcia also quipped that he may be running for Senate again in the spring general election, it is unclear if it was a joke or not. The ASP reached out to Ong Garcia for clarification but has not yet received additional comments.


Vice President Amelia Crawford, who would have been the one presiding over the hearing, said she would not do it. Klein noted that the Rules committee was very caught off guard by this move, and that there is no real precedent to warrant the trial not moving forward, nor is there precedent to impeach someone who is not in SA. 


Caleb Sapp, Director of Programming and Marketing raised concerns that Ong Garcia could be gaming SA by resigning to dodge impeachment just so he can run again in a future election without a hitch. He also called for election reform to prevent that from happening. This is something that the body considered as legislation last semester which died on the floor. 


Crawford noted that there are loopholes in the SA bylaws that can benefit everyone who may find themselves in a similar situation as Ong Garcia, but that it is more of a violation of the democratic process to bar that person from running again if it is the will of the people. 


“Let’s stop focusing on what people are saying and doing what’s actually possible,” Crawford said. 


Klein made a statement about how many people in SA have felt comfortable enough to be vulnerable and share their own experiences with mental health, and in response, people try to “break them down.” This was in response to Sapp’s address from two meetings ago where he called out former Senator Jeremy Zheng just a few minutes after Zheng made comments about his struggles with mental health. 


“I feel like it's extremely improper to, within a short span of that time when they were vulnerable in this room, to just be basically for lack of a better, better word, try and break them down,” Klein said.


After two weeks, the spring special election has still not been certified. Nathan Galante-Conway, Chairman of the Elections Commission said it was due to the wrong candidates being verified, and that once they noticed the error, corrected it, and contacted the right candidates to see if they would accept their position. 


Senator Emma Rennard and Klein questioned if the commission was considering a partial certification of the election, Galante-Conway said the idea was brought to him today and that they will be checking the bylaws to see if it is permitted. 


Galante-Conway did say that – barring some strange catastrophe – the elections would be certified by the next meeting on Feb. 28.


A number of student organizations requested club funding, with Women in Law, UAlbany Stomp N’ Shake, Book Club, and the National Society of Black Women in Medicine all making penny requests, all of which were approved via unanimous consent. Zeta Phi Beta ($1,000), Embrace Thy Crown ($1,412.79) and Shabbos House L’chaim ($1,412.79) also made requests, which were also confirmed via unanimous consent. 

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