Who’s Running the Student Senate?

In the previous issue of The Harbinger, it was reported that the Student Senate’s President, Pat Carney, was facing judicial proceedings, based off of reports that he breached his Code of Conduct contract as a result of an off-campus incident. We have followed this investigation since, and wish to clarify with new findings from a Student Senate Representative, administration, and Carney himself.

During the week of the 24, The Harbinger was contacted by Justin McDermott, a Student Senate member claiming to be the Senate’s media liaison, who told The Harbinger that Carney still retains Presidential status within the Senate. McDermott went on to state that, while Carney retains the title of President, Senate Vice President Michael Torio has effectively taken over many key duties of the Senate President.

Michael Nejman, advisor to the Student Senate, contradicted McDermott’s statement as he reiterated his position that Carney is not currently President.

Carney, however, told The Harbinger on Jan. 26 that it is his intention to step down from his position as President.

Yes, I am President, but I am not acting as President,” said Patrick Carney; “I am taking an extended leave of absence. I am un-announcing my role as President and letting Michael Torio take over and I am acting as a Representative on the Senate instead of the President. That is pretty much until I transfer, which is this summer.”

While the Senate struggles to find a message it can drive home, one thing is certain– Pat Carney would not be able to step down from his role as President if he isn’t the President in the first place.

In an hour-long conversation with The Harbinger, McDermott said, “Patrick Carney has to resign; it is in the Student Senate Constitution.” McDermott continued to state that Carney could step down by means of submitting a resignation letter, a leave of absence, or be impeached. An impeachment is an extreme ejection tool that’s only been used once in the history of the Harper Student Senate, and would be result in ineligibility for Carney to serve in the organization – even at its lowest levels.

After asking questions about Carney’s letter of resignation in the interview with McDermott, he went on to further explain Carney’s responsibilities and purpose in the Senate.

“The Senate voted for him the Dec. 3 meeting for his appeal, we do not know his intentions yet, but he has not submitted anything to anyone yet. He doesn’t vote unless there is a tie, never until a tie. His responsibilities as of now [are] the same as they’ve been, he has come to the meetings but not call the meetings into order, which should be his responsibility. We have advised him to send in either a letter of resignation or a letter of absence.”

Given the Senate’s vote in favor of Carney’s appeal, it would make sense that Harper would generally exhaust Carney’s problem through its judicial channels, however, no one with knowledge of the current status of Carney’s Resolution Board was available to comment.

Nejman and McDermott then communicated together to resolve some misunderstandings and then released this statement:

“Patrick Carney is the President, but he needs to send in a letter of resignation and a letter of absence. Unless the Senate decides otherwise it will most likely be [the] next meeting that we will start the impeachment process if he does not submit these two documents. Michael Torio will then take the role of President after either: the impeachment or when Carney submits the two documents.”

At press time, Pat Carney has yet to put in a letter of resignation or turn in a letter of absence like he said he would do in his interview in the last issue or during this investigation.

The Student Senate’s next meeting will take place on Feb. 4, and is open to the public.


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