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UNJOYFUL NOISE

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About 40 students attended the Undergraduate Student Government meeting last night to call for the resignation or apology of Aaron Shumaker, president, or for him to step down as Treasurer for Gordy Heminger’s campaign.

In calling for Shumaker’s resignation or apology, Jim Wasil, president of College Republicans, spoke as a representative for the 40 students and alleged that Shumaker had used his title as president to ask students to vote for Heminger.

Heminger is running for city council in Ward 1 against Ashley Harlett, junior.

Wasil alleged that Shumaker approached various fraternities and sororities, identified himself as USG President, and asked members to vote for Heminger.

“He’s using his title to try to gain some sway,” Wasil said prior to the meeting and called Shumaker’s actions unethical.

According to Michael Ginsburg, advisor for USG, candidates can’t be endorsed by USG, but there aren’t specific rules that prevent individual senators from endorsing candidates.

Still Ginsgurg said senators should not say, “I, as a USG senator, endorse so-and-so.”

“It makes it look like USG is endorsing someone,” Ginsburg said prior to the meeting.

Shumaker spoke to Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Phi Kappa Tau about supporting Heminger in the election, but the fraternities disagree on whether Shumaker identified himself with USG at their meetings.

Brandon Cox, member of Phi Delta Theta, does not remember specifically whether Shumaker identified himself as USG president while speaking to the fraternity.

“I’m pretty sure he did,” Cox said, adding that Shumaker talked about Heminger and told them to vote for him.

But David Ruda, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said Shumaker didn’t say he was USG president when he spoke at their meeting.

While Shumaker mentioned Heminger, Ruda said Shumaker was there to register voters.

Kyle Pechak, treasurer of Phi Kappa Tau, also said Shumaker endorsed Heminger at their meeting, but he doesn’t think Shumaker identified himself as USG president.

In response to the allegations about his actions at fraternity meetings, Shumaker called them false.

“I never identified myself as USG president,” Shumaker said, adding that he had gone to the fraternities to register voters.

According to Wasil, the students who attended the USG meeting were also concerned that Shumaker is Heminger’s brother in Alpha Sigma Phi, his campaign Treasurer, and allegedly supporting Heminger as a member of USG.

“That’s a total conflict of interest,” Wasil said, adding that he thinks Shumaker is abusing his power as president of USG.

Wasil cited the USG mission statement, which says “We will provide opportunities for students to learn, grow, and lead.”

Wasil alleges that in supporting a candidate who is not a student, Shumaker is violating the mission statement.

“As a student government, there is only one student running, and working against the students is almost treasonous,” Wasil said.

Wasil asked senators to listen to concerns of the students who had come to the meeting.

“The 40 people that walked in here are constituents,” Wasil said.

But two students in the group admitted not knowing enough about the issue to give their opinion of it when questioned by the BG News.

After the meeting, Shumaker read a prepared statement, saying he had done nothing wrong.

“I have never said USG was supporting the candidate,” Shumaker said, adding that he was disappointed that the students hadn’t approached him directly about their concerns.

After the meeting, Shumaker poked holes in Wasil’s allegations that Shumaker had identified himself as president of USG and asked sororities to vote for Heminger.

Shumaker said he never spoke to any sororities.

Shumaker also stood by his choice to support Heminger over Harlett, saying he chose to endorse the candidate that he thought would best represent student interests on city council.

“I can’t support students simply because they’re students,” Shumaker said.

At the meeting, most senators spoke out in support of Shumaker.

Niki Messmore, at-large senator, called Wasil’s allegations “almost ludicrous.”

“To say you are working against a student and being treasonous to work against a student is false,” Messmore said.

Chelsea Lambdin, West Greek Units senator, doesn’t expect senators to call for Shumaker’s resignation or to a vote for impeachment.

“I don’t think Aaron Shumaker has done anything wrong,” Lambdin said afterward.

Maria Khoury, former senator, agrees with Lambdin’s position.

“I feel as if [Shumaker] being impeached or stepping down is completely wrong,” Khoury said.

Although Shumaker said he was concerned that his constituents are upset, Shumaker doesn’t plan to resign from either of his positions or to apologize.

“I was put into office to make decisions that were in the best interests of the students body,” Shumaker said, adding that he believes he has acted in that manner.

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Can the group endorse a non-student?

The USG mission statement was cited as allegedly being against support of non-student candidates. The text in question:

“We will provide opportunities for students to learn, grow, and lead in an environment that promotes cooperation, respect for one another, intellectual and spiritual growth, creative imaginings, and pride in a job well done.”

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