Dean of Students Comments on Council’s Executive Session
On December 18th, Council entered into an Executive Session to discuss the public actions of a Council member that led to the resignation of Community Representative Herman. Herman resigned after another Council member created an Instagram account (@hhs_council_memes), that published memes about Council–some of which criticized Herman. The Executive Session was proposed by School Counselor and Staff Representative Voake and Council Executive Addante. After the approval of the session by Council, all persons present at the meeting that were not members of Council were forced to leave the meeting. As per Council bylaws, Dean of Students Stevenson was permitted to stay. However, Stevenson decided to leave the meeting.
Stevenson graciously accepted a Broadside request for comment, and met with a reporter shortly after the meeting. When asked why she decided to leave the meeting, Stevenson focused on her respect for the autonomy of Council, stating that she understood that Council needed time to discuss the behavior of its members. She clarified that her presence as the Dean of Students may have caused some students to speak less freely, and stated that outsider presence is rarely positive in these circumstances, as “sometimes families need to sort out their stuff”. She further emphasized that she simply did not feel a need to interfere with Council’s process.
When asked for details about previous Council Executive Sessions, Stevenson related that the most recent time a Council member has been impeached was in the early 2000s, when she was still a teacher. Stevenson spoke of that person’s harsh and frequent attacks of Council members and others in the community as causing their impeachment. The specific language that provides for impeachment in this circumstance may be found in Article 2, Section E of the Council bylaws. This section, (in part) states that a Council member may be impeached for “Conduct unbecoming a Council member. Conduct unbecoming a Council member is defined as: 1. Public behavior that is not in keeping with the standards of responsibility and leadership expected of Council members.” This section could provide grounds for the impeachment of a Council member in the 2000s case, and in the case currently in play. However, during the meeting, Council Executive Addante clarified that the Executive Session was called for the purpose of developing a restitution plan, and not an impeachment proceeding.
An impeachment proceeding of the unnamed Council member could be initiated, but has not been started yet.