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Union Secretary Aronin speaks out against her impeachment

Published: February 5, 2010
Section: News

PHOTO BY Robbie Hammer/The Hoot

When Diana Aronin ’11 heard nearly two months ago that she had been impeached as Student Union secretary by the Senate, she was not caught in the act, but rather off guard.

“I was completely surprised, and I had no idea there was even a big deal,” she said, referring to the absence of a vote on the Senate’s earlier proposal for a Constitutional amendment allowing for the creation of a midyear senator post. The Union Judiciary unanimously orderd for her dismissal on those charges Sunday.

“When [former and since graduated Mods Senator] Jon Freed came to me in mid-September, about a proposal from the end of the year before, he himself didn’t follow protocol,” she said.

The Senate, however, unanimously took the view that she had “willfully” violated the Constitution and ignored the calling of a student body-wide referendum.

But Aronin said she and Union President Andy Hogan ’11, whose advice she had sought, did nothing deliberate at all.

“In Andy’s eyes, the fact that the midyears would not have a senator this year wouldn’t be a big deal,” she said, noting that they had never had one before.

She added the attacks from senators and others on campus took an assumption and attacked her for it.

“I was accused of hating midyears—there was no intent at all in my failure to call a vote, it was a mistake,” Aronin said.

The first time that another Union official had raised the lack of a vote to her was “at the last [executive] board meeting,” she said, “where Jenna [Rubin ’11, the executive senator,]…told me that I only needed to apologize to the Senate, and at the next meeting I did apologize. The next thing I knew, Andy called and told me that after an executive session of the Senate I was impeached.”

Aronin believes that the saga of her impeachment and subsequent removal was at least partly based on personal, political motivations.

“The Senate needed a scapegoat—they wanted to show their power—and they found one in me,” she said, adding she was impeached after she and Hogan had offered to put the proposal up for a vote.

To compound on her suspicions, Aronin said that she was told by “at least four senators that they had wanted to vote no, but that they were convinced when Rubin claimed she had done all of her research.” Four would have been enough to avert Aronin’s two-thirds vote of impeachment, and the research, she said, was contrived.

“It shows the weakness of the Senate, that they could change their minds about this so easily, and if they really cared about midyears, they wouldn’t have pursued impeachment.”

Aronin noted that the midyears could possibly have been electing their very first senator in the winter elections this week.

When asked about the toll the trial and judgment had taken upon her, Aronin was upbeat.

“I’m fully OK with this: the process has taught me that the Student Union is not a functional group of people,” she said. “We’re supposed to be working together.”

“They impeached me for a mistake,” Aronin declared, “The Union is not what it was when I signed up.”