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RIT Student Government impeaches Jacob Custer

Custer was impeached from his position as CoLA Senator (source: RIT Student Government)

On February 2, 2021, the office of Student Government at the Rochester Institute of Technology has made the decision to impeach Jacob Custer, a 4th-year Economics and Public Policy major, from his position as Student Senator for the College of Liberal Arts.

Student Government President Shine DeHarder (source: RIT Student Government)
"This process has understandably been very difficult for our community and has brought up many important," Student Government President Shine DeHarder explains in an email sent out to the RIT community, but difficult topics related to diversity and inclusion, freedom of speech and expression, and effective communication and dialogue."

Custer had allegedly violated RIT's Code of Conduct through the expression of concerns over the direction of political movements that were outside the scope of his position. He was eventually impeached by his fellow Student Government members for the following reasons as explained by Jackson Walker of the College Fix:

  1. Negative attitudes towards members.

  2. Blatant disregard of the effects of controversial topics such as Blue Lives Matter and how it affects the Black and Brown community.

  3. Blatant disregard for anyone's views.

"I fear I will face repercussions simply because I stood for free speech, and I knew of such consequences on a liberal campus," Custer explains in an email sent to the College Fix, "but I believe such fear is something other students should not have to face in a disagreement.”

Students have responded to Custer's impeachment through a counter-petition filed by Dylan Green on their digital petition platform PawPrints, seeking that Custer remains in position as his comments were protected by the university's Free Speech policy.

"Open, civil discussions of key issues in the right venue without mischaracterization is important to many," Green explained. "If these discussions are not allowed to happen, we will not solve the issues in question, nor will anyone's minds be changed. The recent movements to strip certain groups of students of their positions they qualify for because of what they say outside their roles on their own accord is very troubling."

As the petition has reached the minimum threshold of 200 signatures this past November, the office of Student Government has responded to this with an explanation as to how the impeachment process is held in a fair, unbiased manner. This includes convening a Standards Advisory Board charged with holding the impeachment hearing and determining an outcome.

Custer was ultimately impeached by the Standards Advisory Board on February 2, 2021. Nobody has been announced to replace him as CoLA Student Senator at the time this article was written.

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