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Friday, December 02, 2022

Lauren Lemasters impeachment resolution dies in Judiciary Committee

Resolution postponed indefinitely

Lauren Lemasters, UF student body president, listens to public comment at the Board of Trustees meeting discussing Ben Sasse’s candidacy on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.
Lauren Lemasters, UF student body president, listens to public comment at the Board of Trustees meeting discussing Ben Sasse’s candidacy on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.

The Student Government Judiciary Committee indefinitely postponed the resolution to impeach Student Body President Lauren Lemasters Sunday, effectively failing the legislation for the time being.

The Judiciary Committee heard 14 pieces of legislation during the Sunday meeting, one of which was a resolution to impeach Lemasters submitted by the Change caucus. The committee reviews all submitted legislation and makes adjustments before voting on whether to hear it on the Senate floor.

The impeachment resolution asserts Lemasters conducted malfeasance — or violating a contractual obligation — by breaking the trust of other elected officials. The resolution was brought about for her affirmative vote for Sen. Ben Sasse to become UF president at the Nov. 1 Board of Trustees meeting.

The Judiciary Committee argued Lemasters had the freedom of choice to vote in the direction she preferred, which wouldn’t constitute malfeasance, deputy minority caucus leader Gabriela Montes (Change-Liberal Arts and Sciences) said. 

Change caucus will continue to find ways to hold Lemasters accountable, Montes said.

“I absolutely have not lost hope in our ability to continue pursuing measures of accountability and of pressing toward ensuring that things like these cannot happen ever again,” Montes said.

Judiciary chair Sean Harkins hasn’t responded to The Alligator’s request for comment as of Sunday night.

All members of the Judiciary Committee are Gator-affiliated.

Lemasters defended her vote for Sasse during the Nov. 8 Senate meeting, agreeing her vote was protected under freedom of speech.

“First Amendment rights are alive and well within our campus,” Lemasters said. “There's a difference between making your voice heard and taking action against or taking away the voices that are different from yours.”

Lemasters is confident Sasse could effectively serve the student body and would fulfill his promise of “political celibacy,” she said at the meeting.

“I'm taking him at his word that he wants to advance and support every single student,” Lemasters said in the meeting. “I encourage you to be a part of that team, to hold him to his word, to lean into the difficult conversations and the communities that you care about and want to protect.”

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SG impeachment procedures are somewhat dictated by precedence, as the written procedures aren’t entirely defined. 

The most recent impeachment proceeding before Lemasters was that of former Student Body President Michael Murphy in 2019, whose impeachment came in light of leaked emails between Murphy and Trump campaign officials asking Donald Trump Jr. to speak on campus. The resolution to impeach Murphy also failed in Judiciary.

Contact Alissa Gary at agary@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaGary1.


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Alissa Gary

Alissa Gary is a freshman journalism major who covers student government for The Alligator. You’ll usually find her watching (and talking about) movies, taking care of her plants, or drinking coffee when she’s not reporting.


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