Lawsuit causes MSA to consider impeachment vote

Colleen Winters

After a heated debate on Wednesday, plans to vote on whether or not to impeach a member of the College of Liberal Arts College Board were postponed until next week.
Board member Jessie Roos created a conflict of interest as a student representative when she filed a lawsuit against the University, some board members said.
Roos is one the five students who filed a lawsuit against the University two weeks ago. The lawsuit charges that the requirement to pay the student services fee is unconstitutional.
Specifically, the suit objects to funding the University Young Women, the Queer Student Cultural Center and La Raza Student Cultural Center.
The charges brought against Roos contend she was in violation of the Minnesota Student Association constitution, which requires members to represent all students at the University.
“There is a huge group of MSA students who believe that she has a conflict of interest,” said Brandon Lacy, a College of Liberal Arts senator. Lacy said he also received many letters from students not involved in MSA who saw a conflict.
“Part of her job is still going to be interacting with the regents,” said Jesse Berglund, chairman of the Student Senate. Since the lawsuit is against the Board of Regents, a conflict exists, he said.
Students also question Roos’ objectivity now that she has made her views public. “She is charged with representing me,” Lacy said. “I’m a gay student at this University, and she can no longer represent me.”
But Shenoa Simpson, legislative affairs chairwoman for MSA, said she worried that an impeachment would start a negative trend. “In MSA this year, everybody’s been trying to impeach each other,” she said. “Once you set the precedence, it continues to happen the entire year.”
An impeachment from the board would result in Roos’ removal from the Student Senate and the Minnesota Student Association.
Matt Curry, another of the students who filed the lawsuit, resigned from his position in MSA after filing the suit. Lacy said Curry recognized a conflict of interest as student representative to the Board of Regents.
But Roos, who was not at Wednesday’s meeting, feels differently about her position. “I believe that in the capacity I’m working in, yes I can (represent students),” she said, adding that she doesn’t believe one student can realistically represent all students at the University.
Roos’ positions as a CLA senator and on various boards involve working with academic issues, such as student evaluations of teaching, she said.
Members of the Academic Affairs Committee voted to remove Roos from her position as committee chairwoman Tuesday night, said Neta Scarpari, the Queer Student Cultural Center representative to MSA.
Members at the meeting contend that Roos has a right to file a lawsuit. “But you have to separate the politics and the position,” Berglund said.