Three FAU campuses think the SG president isn’t doing his job

Regina Kaza

Three campus houses have recently accused current SG president, Ayden Maher (above, after Howard Schnellenberger’s last game on Dec. 3 2011), of missing meetings and not following the SG constitution. If any campus decides to write up articles of impeachment, Maher could end his term early. Photo by Charles Pratt.

SG President Ayden Maher goes to football games, makes speeches and hands out free T-shirts. But it might not be enough.

The Broward House of Representatives issued a vote of no confidence on Maher at its meeting on March 15. The next day, Jupiter’s House also passed a vote of no confidence. One week later, so did Boca’s. There are now three campus houses who believe Maher is doing his job poorly. The Broward House accused Maher of not going to any of their meetings in nine months and only one Jupiter meeting this year, which is against the SG constitution.

Maher is supposed to give a weekly report to each campus House, either in person or in writing, according to the SG constitution. The president said he sent a report at least once a month, but that has yet to be confirmed. Besides the Broward meetings, Maher missed four Boca House meetings and one Senate meeting this year, according to Boca House Speaker Boris Bastidas. He has been to two Jupiter House meetings and sent two reports in his term, according to Jupiter House Speaker Amrita Gopaldas.

Maher declined an interview with the UP. 

“I think they want to see the executives’ faces more, and that doesn’t just go for myself, it goes for the university,” Maher said at the Boca House meeting on March 23. “I think there needs to be better communication between all campuses.”

Broward House Speaker Alex Newton declined to comment.

Maher was also accused of delaying the University Budget & Appropriations Committee’s (UBAC) meeting, which assigns funding for SG, all student clubs and Student Media. According to the SG statutes, the president is supposed to call the first UBAC meeting midway through October — something Maher didn’t do.

“I don’t care if we have a president who’s a good speaker and is a pretty face and is going around handing out T-shirts everywhere,” Bastidas said. “That’s not their job.”

After showing up late to the Boca meeting on March 23, Maher took on the accusations. “I want you all to know that I work day in and day out above the 20 hours that I get paid a week,” Maher said. “I bust my ass for this university.”

Since Maher has about five weeks left in his term, the chances of him being impeached are slim, according to Bastidas. “It’s really nothing more than a symbolic vote,” he said. (see the sidebar for the impeachment process)

Because of this, House Rep. Alexandra Scully thinks the vote of no confidence won’t solve anything. “This is kind of redundant at the moment,” Scully said at the meeting. “Especially because he’s almost done with his term and I think we should just move on.”

Gopaldas mentioned that this should set an example for the next president. “A vote of no confidence will not only send a message to current President Maher,” Gopaldas said “but to President-elect [Robert] Huffman for their inattentiveness to the constituents and Student Government representatives on the Jupiter campus.”

SG Vice President and President-elect said these votes won’t affect his future. “I’ve learned a lot from Ayden, from his mistakes and from his strengths,” Huffman said. “With or without the votes of no confidence, I think that I understand what the students want.”

Although Maher isn’t likely to be impeached based on the time he has left, it’s still possible. Back in 2006, former SG President Dan Wilson was impeached by two campus senates five weeks before his term was over. The main reasons: delaying SG elections and missing meetings. Wilson’s term ended in the very first steps of impeachment and he was never removed from office. Tiffany Weimbar was president before Maher and also got a vote of no confidence for violating the constitution by taking weeks to sign bills.

“We voted no confidence on the last president, and it looks like that didn’t really help with this president,” SG Rules and Policies Committee Chair Amanda Phillips said. “So maybe this isn’t an effective way.”

Before the House passed the vote, Boca Gov. Ryan Ebanks encouraged the representatives to look into what policies Maher has and hasn’t been following. “I’m not saying President Maher is the most perfect president in the world, or he’s the worst president in the world,” Ebanks said. “I’m asking you to objectively, all of you – including the speaker – talk to each other about his job function. Is he actually doing all of his job?”