The University of Michigan Central Student Government voted to remove LSA junior Sam Braden from his role as speaker of the Assembly at its weekly meeting Tuesday night.
The Assembly discussed a motion to recall Braden on the grounds of alleged misconduct during Assembly meetings and lack of efficient administration of the meetings as speaker. Engineering junior Braden Crimmins, chief justice of the Central Student Judiciary, oversaw the portion of the meeting regarding the recall.
Rackham student Siddharth Chaudhari, a co-author of the motion, said he believes Braden made numerous errors in his time as speaker that hindered the efficiency and capability of the Assembly.
“It is incumbent on all Assembly members to hold our colleagues accountable and secure our body’s efficiency, transparency and consider (its) future,” Chaudhari said. “Put simply, it is time for us to say yes to new leadership in the legislative branch of the Central Student Government.”
Braden apologized for coming off as though he was not open to feedback. He spoke about responses he received from a form he circulated among CSG members to help him learn how meetings could be improved.
In a previous interview with The Daily, Braden said, “In total disclosure, I do not enjoy this job at all.” He also explained his alleged disinterest in the Assembly’s meetings during the debate Tuesday night.
“I want to 100% acknowledge that after an incredibly difficult summer, right before I left campus, I let (a) personal emergency affect me and it led me to check myself out from CSG,” Braden said. “I also was receiving hostile messages from some members and I thought that if I (checked out), that would be the best way to ease the tension. But that was not the case and I should not have done that and for that, I genuinely ask your forgiveness.”
Braden also emphasized that he was aware of and apologetic for the errors he made while managing the CSG-sponsored LSAT test prep program. He said that though he redacted parts of the letter sent to the Assembly by the program instructors, he did not intend to cover up his mistakes.
“I have acknowledged since the beginning that I made a lot of mistakes in the LSAT program. We thought they were going to be a couple, like two or three classes, of 12 (students in each), and they ended up being 250 students,” Braden said. “I dropped the ball. I could not handle it and I took a lot of shortcuts. It was nothing malicious and I also have never covered this up. I’ve openly said this to assembly members throughout my time here.”
Braden closed his speech by highlighting his intention of improving as speaker if the motion to recall did not pass. He said he wanted to discuss concerns about his performance with each of the 12 CSG members who signed the initial letter calling for his removal.
“I really enjoy policy work and helping members write resolutions,” Braden said. “I really, really want to meet with each of the 12 people and understand the impact my actions have had. I want to talk about what concretely my improvements can look like going forward.”
The Assembly voted to recall Braden with 26 in favor of the recall, seven opposed and two who passed on voting. The role of speaker was transferred to Engineering junior Carla Voigt, who has served as vice speaker thus far.
The Assembly passed a resolution to support student parents, noting the importance of doing so through the heightened challenges caused by COVID-19. The resolution urges the University to revise policies to ensure that student parents have access to the resources they need to complete their degrees.
Amanda Kaplan, CSG President and Public Policy senior, addressed the assembly in her fall State of Students address. Kaplan emphasized support for sustainability, civic engagement, student wellness and accessibility and affordability.
“I really wanted to emphasize that DEI is at the core of everything that (the executives) do,” Kaplan said. “There shouldn’t really be one section that’s for DEI because it shouldn’t be a box you’re trying to check off but it should be integrated into everything that you’re doing.”
Daily Staff Reporter Navya Gupta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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