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Wednesday, July 06, 2022
CAMPUS  |  SFC

Santa Fe Student Government struggles in aftermath of fight, impeachment

Last month, Santa Fe College Student Body President Michael Chartier resigned without giving a reason.

Most senators are still unaware that Chartier was forced to step down after a disciplinary committee deemed him dangerous. 

In November, Chartier and Senate President Jeremy Pierce fought after an internal investigation launched in response to claims that Pierce threatened to remove senators from Student Government for arbitrary reasons.

The police were called, and Pierce wanted to file assault charges against Chartier.

The college ordered the two never to be in the same room together and to not communicate.

On Jan. 25, Chartier reached out to 10 people, including Santa Fe SG members, professors and faculty, because he wrote he had “recently broken the code of conduct” between himself and Pierce.

He needed people to vouch for his character in front of a discipline committee on the morning of Jan. 28, so it could “determine appropriate sanctions.”

At the Senate meeting that night, now President Austin Browning announced Chartier’s resignation without further explanation.

Nina Trombi, chairwoman of the Career Service Council, was one of the few who showed up to speak on Chartier’s behalf.She was one of only three people who had the chance to speak, due to the proceedings’ unexpected length.

“When it was my turn, I was actually kind of surprised because it was Michael asking the questions, like, ‘Did I ever feel like he was a threat?’” Trombi said.

She said she didn’t.

Later that day, she received another email from Chartier.

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“Unfortunately, the discipline committee has decided to remove me from my position in Student Government,” he wrote.  “As of today, I will no longer be allowed to serve as the Student Body President here at Santa Fe College.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Naima Brown and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Dan Rodkin declined to comment due to Family Education Rights and Privacy Act regulations.

Senators, SG members and faculty who worked closely with Chartier said they never saw him as a danger to students.

Browning, who worked with Chartier as vice president, described him as a proactive person who fought for what he believed.

***

Santa Fe Senate has also struggled to reach the required number of senators to conduct regular business this semester.

Some SG members and senators say this is a result of fighting in SG.

“People just don’t get along,” said Dalton King, president pro tempore.  “And people have their own agendas and what they want.”

Some senators point to the argument between Chartier and Pierce as when things turned sour.

A few weeks after the argument, Senate voted no-confidence against Pierce  — a move that suggested they did not believe he was fit to hold his position.

Senators tried to impeach Pierce, but the movement died out at the beginning of this semester.

Joe Samberg, a longtime senator who has seen three Senate presidents, said SG has “no order” and “no structure.”

“(Pierce is) not willing to help the students or the school in any way,” Samberg said.  

But with Pierce set to leave office in two months, Samberg said senators need to focus on ways to improve the school and leave the impeachment behind.

“People join Student Senate because they see politics on TV, and they want to play politicians,” Sen. Lucas Jewell said.“So in playing pretend politician, they like to create drama.”

“All this time that they’re using to impeach (Pierce), they could be using that time for more productive things,” he added. “But instead we’re stuck in a state of conflict.”

***

Next week, senators running for Leadership Team positions will begin campaigning for elections.

The future is uncertain for many senators, but one common goal they share is a desire to fix SG and Senate.

“Honestly, at this point, I think we do have a place still,” said Benjamin Myers, director of internal affairs.  

“Faculty and staff hopefully will see that not everybody is as crazy as we’re made out to be,” he added. “I just hope that we can resolve our conflicts and get back to doing what we do best, and that is doing right on the behalf of the students.”

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 2/25/2015 under the headline “SFC Student president dismissed"]

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