Parliament members skirt impeachment

Parliamentarian Jacob Kurtz defended himself at a public hearing on Monday.

Parliamentarian Jacob Kurtz publicly defended himself from articles of impeachment at a hearing on Monday. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

After former Parliament representative Shakeel Alibhai petitioned for Parliamentarian Jacob Kurtz to be impeached last week, members of Parliament and Temple Student Government voted to keep Kurtz in office on Monday.

This vote comes after nearly two weeks of various Parliament members attempting to impeach each other, including Kurtz.

So far this year, there have been just as many petitions for impeachment filed than resolutions, which are one of Parliament’s main responsibilities.

On Oct. 26, Alibhai submitted a petition for impeachment against Kurtz, citing five reasons including the failure to fill a vice chair position, said Morrease Leftwich, TSG’s Auditor General.

An impeachment hearing was held on Monday for Kurtz to publicly defend himself against Alibhai’s claim that he was unfit to be Parliamentarian.

“The actions I took after realizing I had overlooked the stipulation of the vice chair exemplify how I have held the position of Parliamentarian,” he said during the hearing. “Upon realizing the mistake, I worked diligently to make amends. In this case, I even took on more responsibility than what was deemed necessary by my position within the constitution.”

A private hearing was held on Oct. 30. At the hearing, Kurtz defended himself and brought a witness to the hearing that spoke in his defense.

After the private hearing, Kurtz released a statement saying that he believed “one mistake is simply not grounds to question my expertise.”

On Nov. 2, 11 members of Parliament filed to impeach Alibhai, members told The Temple News.

The same day, Alibhai filed to impeach several Parliament members, some of whom had previously filed against him, members said. Alibhai resigned from his position later that day.

The petitions against the 11 members and Alibhai were removed from consideration after Alibhai resigned, Leftwich said.

In order to impeach a member of TSG, one must file a petition outlining why the person should be removed from their position. Leftwich then decides if the claims are valid and drafts impeachment documents to be read at an impeachment hearing.

“Some of the accusations were struck down immediately before the defense because I was easily able to reconcile some of them with Jacob’s actions that were constitutional,” Leftwich said.

The petition against Alibhai claimed that Alibhai had proposed a constitutional amendment that would give Parliament the power to remove the Parliamentarian from office immediately after Alibhai filed his petition against Kurtz, which Alibhai disputes. The petition also accused Alibhai of improperly trying to impeach the Parliamentarian and falsely implying co-sponsorship of a resolution, Alibhai added.

“I only tried to impeach the people who had signed off on the false claims and who I know helped to write the false claims,” Alibhai said. “If there was something that wasn’t false but may have been…a misinterpretation, then I didn’t file to impeach them.”

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