Opinion: The failed impeachment against Gov. Luke Turner proves that Student Government is not for the students

Former SG member Sayd Hussain believes the Boca campus governor wasted students’ money and abused his power — yet he is still in office.


Sayd Hussain (middle) sits next to Boca campus House Rep. Louis Akra during Gov. Luke Turner’s impeachment hearing on Nov. 16. Photo by Hope Dean

Sayd Hussain, Contributing Writer

Editor’s note: Sayd Hussain is a former Student Court associate justice. He authored the Articles of Impeachment in an attempt to remove Boca campus Gov. Luke Turner from office.

Student Government was created to help students learn and serve the university’s community, but nothing could be further from the truth right now.

In November, a firm majority of 23 house members voted to impeach Luke Turner, our Boca Raton campus governor. They believed he was incompetent, neglected his duties, and obstructed justice. But according to the SG constitution, a two-thirds majority is required for an impeachment to proceed in SG, meaning 29 votes were needed to impeach Turner.

Despite my belief that Turner wasted students’ money and committed other offenses, 17 House members voted to keep him in office. Regardless of how much damage one man can do, and of how much power one man can have, they actively voted against the better interest of the 500 students they each represent.

SG is no longer for the students but instead for those who abuse the little power they hold.

The University Press reached out to Turner for comment but did not receive a response as of publication time.

Turner only looked after his own interests

During the impeachment, Rep. Matthew McClure asked the campus governor about the firing of Elijah Colas, the multicultural program director, and Gabby Webb, the Boca campus treasurer.

“Did you read the UPress articles?” Turner responded.

I believe he was referring to the fact that Colas and Webb both commented in a previous University Press article about the impeachment. Webb cited her concerns regarding finance, while Colas commented on Turner’s “incompetence.”

I do not think Turner was happy that they spoke to the press. Shortly after their comments were posted by the UP, he filed an executive order to remove them from their respective positions.

I maintain he may have done this as an act of retaliation for the statements that they gave.

“I got temporarily fired for speaking out against Gov. Turner, which risked not only my job but Elijah’s [Colas] too,” Webb commented after the impeachment.

Webb and Colas were removed from their positions until Turner withdrew his executive order the same day he issued it.

“This risked losing valuable pay, my internship credit, and my reputation as campus treasurer. Furthermore, I have not been spoken to by the governor because it seems that things will never change,” Webb added.

But despite removing the campus treasurer and multicultural programming director for allegedly speaking out against him in a blatant abuse of power, 17 house members still voted against the impeachment.

And this is not the only thing I think he should’ve been impeached for.

Turner’s actions shouldn’t just be upsetting me

The governor’s budget is taken from Activity and Service (A&S) fees, which are collected as part of our tuition and are supposed to be spent to benefit the students.

Despite this, I believe Turner wasted your hard-earned money.

According to a public records request of the Boca Raton governor’s budget, Turner spent $3,488 in student fees to go to Washington, D.C. for the American Student Government Association conference (ASGA) in October.

The trip itself was booked less than one month prior, even though the reservation deadline was in July, meaning the resulting late registration fees were paid by A&S fees.

But this wasn’t his only instance of wild spending. The records request also revealed that Turner:

  • Spent $4,189 on a campus address, which is an annual speech each campus governor is required to give
  • Spent $5,000 on ponchos that were meant for the football season but arrived after it was over

The amount of money put into his campus address was especially concerning, as former Boca campus Gov. Der’Resha Bastien spent $184 on her campus address.

That means that Turner spent almost 23 times more money on his speech than Bastien.

The quality of SG programs will have to be sacrificed because of Turner’s handling of A&S fees.

And I do not think Turner has hosted a single successful event that was dedicated to the betterment of the student body.

His $36,000 budget is not his money. It’s the students’ money, and we entrusted him with our wallets only to be taken advantage of.

Turner and the rest of SG let the student body down

Along with many other students, I supported Turner when he first ran for office

From initiatives to include on-campus Chick-fil-A breakfast options to his claim that he was the best candidate to provide for the students, Turner had a great campaign message and even greater promises.

But these were promises he failed to live up to.

Watching Turner fail to provide for students with their A&S fees is a slap in the face to those who voted to put him in power.

I tried to impeach him, but SG did not believe in me as a student, nor will it believe in you.

It will only believe in the man with power.

Sayd Hussain is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].