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The author of this blog has moved his efforts over to a new group blog. Please visit The Arizona Growler.

O'Hara Factor
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bernsen accused of sexual harassment

Unlike other posts, this post is NOT G-rated. The Factor will comply with wishes of privacy by withholding any specific information about the accusers unless necessary for objectivity or analysis. --GPO

Cade Bernsen

The Arizona Daily Wildcat reports that two ASUA associates have accused ASUA President Cade Bernsen of sexual harassment over a period of eight months.

Article VI, Section 2 of the ASUA Constitution states that "Violations of the Constitution or Bylaws, nonfeasance and/or malfeasance in office shall constitute grounds for impeachment." Removal from office requires a 3/4 vote in the senate. If the elected official involved is a Senator, she may have to recuse herself in order to allow a fair vote. Here's hoping Bernsen resigns if the allegations are true so we don't have to go through this.

Alistair Chapman

This is not the first time that an ASUA official has received trouble over a sexual issue. In April 2004, the ASU State Press reported that ASA officials had attended a strip club off student money. The ASA Director from the University of Arizona at that time had been Alistair Chapman, who later went on to become Student Body President. The Wildcat never reported it.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Alistair Chapman has personally clarified the strip club incident. In fact, he was trying to prevent future incidents!

Second Update: An anonymous commenter correctly notes that only a simple majority of the "total voting membership" of the Senate is required to impeach Bernsen.


Impeachment requires only a majority of voting members in the Senate. Once impeached, the official is tried in the ASUA supreme court. Final conviction requires 4 out of 5 supreme court justices voting yes.
Since the ASUA constiution requires "a majority of voting members" it does not make exceptions for absentions. Therefore, if the victim is a senator, she would be doing a disservice to the student body by not voting; absention would make impeachment considerably harder. What if every female senator had been sexually harassed by President Bernsen? Does this mean that he should not be impeached because the senators should abstain? That argument is just stupid.

Looks like you got me there. Convicting a Supreme Court Justice requires the Senate's 3/4 vote. Impeaching the president is a simple majority.

And while there is no requirement of absention for such a situation (or at least no precedent from which to proceed), I'd still respect either an "aye" or absention, the latter to allow the rest of the Senate to make the decision. If she knows the rest of the Senate will impeach, then there's no procedural damage done.

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