‘A better face for the SA’
Improper behavior demands Johns’ impeachment
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 01:09
“Probably not,” he said.
He also had no legitimate testimony to support his argument that he was in the office at the times he said he was. An overwhelming number of SA staff has reported to The Spectrum that Johns falsified his work time sheets.
The fact that so many people have said he wasn’t in the office means he probably wasn’t in the office.
Moreover, when we asked if there was anyone who could verify the times he claimed to be working, he said his roommates could. It doesn’t take an honors student to be suspicious of such an answer.
When we did ask him if there was anyone in SA to verify his time sheets, Johns told us no.
Curiously, however, three of Johns’ roommates are his coworkers. For each of them, positions were created or given. And sure enough, this is another big complaint to emerge from SA employees: Johns’ hiring personal friends over more qualified candidates.
As students, our money should go toward paying those who are most qualified to represent us. Johns did us a disservice.
He has a great deal of responsibility and he let us down.
The amount of autonomy that SA has is extensive. The level of responsibility our SA e-board members have is a privileged liberty. Other student governments have faculty advisors that influence every decision. Ours is one of only two in the country with a student-owned fiscal organization, according to former President Travis Nemmer in a February interview with The Spectrum.
SA is one of the most independent student governments in the SUNY system.
Enough so that it caught the attention of The New York Times last year.
The University of South Carolina’s student government has a budget of $413,000; Vanderbilt University’s student government handles $3.7 million; the University at Buffalo’s SA independently manages an overall budget of $4.2 million.
This is bigger than just Johns. This affects the reputation of the organization and the faith students have in their representation.
Two scandals in two years is two too many.
Typically, around 14 percent of students vote in our elections. The majority of those who do are likely in SA clubs – and are part of intense alliances. The biggest solution to all of this is for more students to become actively engaged in the election process.
If it does get to the point, as we think it should, where we are facing a reelection, the students must take action.
We must educate ourselves on the candidates and vote with a sense of possibility for rebirth.
“They say power corrupts,” Johns told us Saturday. “But I also think that power allows you to achieve your vision.”
The vision Johns was referring to remains unclear.
The exhaustive list of complaints that have surfaced are vastly troubling, and little action seems to have been initiated that is designed to improve the lives of UB students.
Our biggest problem with Johns is that he lacks substance. Aside from the seeming lack of a moral direction, the importance of improving student life eluded him as well.
And now, the evidence is in plain sight; in just a mere two weeks, Johns has lost all credibility.
Students should be thankful Johns appears to be the only rotten apple in the bunch and that everyone in SA seems to agree on one thing: He needs to go.
It is hard to predict how this will play out; but it’s important to remember that people could have easily joined along with Johns’ misconduct.
Though at the very beginning of his tenure, as manifestations were conspicuously ominous, the bulk of SA insiders fought against it.
The narrative of Johns’ transgressions should implicate one thing above all the rest: that there’s a better world someplace else, that there are better values elsewhere.
As SA leaders and concerned community members circulate the campus in the coming days, urging students to sign the petition to impeach Johns, we should remember the power of our signatures.
What type of vision will they reflect?