Saunders resigns, Haas to be inaugurated

Johnathan Saunders

Johnathan Saunders

Johnathan Saunders has resigned as president of Student Senate, effective Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Interim president and previous vice president Taylor Haas will replace Saunders in office and will be inaugurated as president for the spring 2013 semester after winter break.

“It’s bittersweet,” Saunders said.

“I’ve always tried to be a good leader but I could not consciously let the senate proceed to a vote in violation of our constitution.

“Therefore I have sacrificed myself — spared the senators — of going against something I so strongly believe in.

“I hope in time that they will fully appreciate what I’ve done.”

Last week, the Senate’s executive council told the senate as a whole that Saunders should be removed from office for missing too many meetings.

Saunders claimed, following the Dec. 5 meeting, that the executive council was unable to provide specific dates of his absences.

He said such unsubstantiated claims are unconstitutional.

Discussion of the charges was held in closed session last week.

This Wednesday, the Senate voted to go into closed session to let Saunders appeal the executive council’s recommendation and to discuss and vote on his appeal.

During closed session, Saunders says the executive council asked to present its case for Saunders’ removal before letting Saunders present his appeal. Saunders objected to hearing the council’s case.

“They seemed very shocked that I objected, but I proceeded with my appeal,” Saunders said.

“I gave them a rundown of my qualifications for being president, gave them specific articles in the constitution to prove my stance and let the body know why I could not proceed to let them blindly vote on something so unconstitutional.”

Saunders then gave Haas his letter of resignation, shook his hand and walked out the door. Behind him were his Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers who had attended the meeting to show him their support.

“I was surprised and shocked,” Haas said.

“I didn’t see that one coming.”

After adjournment, senate members left the room looking bewildered, but congratulated their new president.

“I was proud of the senate for handling the situation so well and professionally,” Haas said. “No chairs were thrown or anything like that.”

The senate did not move to a vote because Saunders resigned. Hass will begin his new duties as president at the beginning of next semester.

“I will execute the duties of office as best that I can and will do my best to ensure we do our business and not let any tension interrupt our meetings,” Haas said.

“What has happened will be left in the past and I intend to do my best, keep everyone on track and keep business going.”