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Oklahoma City University's Student Government Association spat turns into learning experience

A dust-up that had been brewing for at least a semester culminated in recent weeks when Oklahoma City University's student body president was impeached a week before her term ended.
by Silas Allen Published: April 25, 2012

Sometimes, even the most heated political squabble can turn into a learning experience.

Such has been case within Oklahoma City University's Student Government Association. A dust-up that had been brewing for at least a semester culminated in recent weeks when the student government's president was impeached a week before her term ended.

The chief justice of OCU's student court ruled former Student Government Association President Emma Velez had served her full term. Velez is barred from holding elected office within the organization for one semester, but she may participate in other capacities.

Rick Hall, OCU's vice president for student affairs, said the incident represented political drama at its best — albeit on a small scale.

Hall, who serves as the organization's adviser, said the incident was the culmination of a longer series of altercations between the group's executive and legislative branches. The final disagreement was over the use of the president's discretionary fund, Hall said.

The president may use that fund to sponsor events or initiatives he or she thinks are important, he said, and parameters for the use of the fund aren't well defined.

Generally, Hall said, it falls to the Student Senate — the student government's legislative body — to distribute funding to campus organizations in much the same way money is doled out at the state and federal level.

But when Velez chose to use money from the discretionary fund to support an event sponsored by a student organization that received money from the Student Senate, a debate ensued over how the fund may be used. Although that debate ended with Velez being impeached, she doesn't face any charge or disciplinary action from the university itself.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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