Frustrated with the growing rift in the organization’s leadership, five of the Residence Halls Association’s nine executive board members resigned in a one-week span late last month.

Some members said their decision to resign was a result of RHA President Andrew Eastman’s refusal to step down after being charged with indecent exposure.

Eastman, who was cited in West Quad Jan. 13, will go on trial in Washtenaw County Court on Feb. 22. He has said the indecent exposure charge is false.

LSA sophomore Jerry Ilar, RHA’s vice president for public relations, Nursing sophomore Folake Famoye, the vice president for internal relations, and LSA sophomore John Hughes, the group’s executive assistant, all stepped down after the group’s meeting on Thursday.

Because two other members left their positions the week before – LSA junior Tim Bekkers, the vice president for finance and LSA junior Dave Xia, the vice president for national relations – just four of organization’s nine board members remain.

Bekkers declined comment yesterday, and Xia could not be reached for comment.

At their meeting on Thursday, members of the RHA, which acts as the student government of University residence halls, moved to impeach Eastman for his indecent exposure charge, but the motion was eventually voted down. Ilar and Famoye said they no longer had a desire to work on the board when it became clear that Eastman would keep his position.

Famoye said the group held a series of emergency meetings last week to discuss Eastman’s future as RHA president. In those meetings, Eastman made clear his intention not to step down, she said.

Ilar, who first moved to impeach Eastman, said he thought the measure had strong enough support among RHA members to pass. Once the motion failed, Ilar said, he knew he couldn’t stay to work with Eastman.

“The past two weeks were hell for me,” he said. “It wasn’t something I could ignore or put in the past – it was something that needed to be dealt with and the problem needed to be solved.”

Ilar and Famoye confirmed they’d heard rumors about Eastman’s indecent exposure charge.

Ilar said the accusation alone disappointed members of the executive board, and that details of the charge had the potential to make women in the organization uncomfortable.

“That’s something I could not respect or support,” he said. “That’s something I did not want to partake in.”

Eastman did not return calls for comment yesterday.

Some members of the group were also upset with Eastman after he admitted to storing alcohol in the RHA office in the basement of South Quad early last month. Alcohol is prohibited in University residence halls.

Ilar said members of the executive board discovered in October that Eastman and LSA sophomore Arthur Kay, the RHA vice president for state relations, drank alcohol in the RHA offices. But the full assembly didn’t discuss the incident until last week. Ilar added that last week’s emergency meetings were originally held to discuss the drinking incident rather than Eastman’s indecent exposure charge.

LSA sophomore Sam Nawrocki, an RHA representative from South Quad, said she knew before last week’s meeting that the group would discuss the removal of the president.

But she was confused by the rumors circulating about the nature of Eastman’s citation and the dynamics of the executive board.

She said she came to the meeting hoping for more answers, but she didn’t hear any.

Ilar said confusion was the general consensus among representatives after the meeting. He and Famoye acknowledged that the disharmony among executive board members had never been public knowledge.

Famoye said former executive board members had told her that the other members were always supportive and always working as a team. She said that was not the case this year.

“But we pretended and masked it,” she said.

Ilar said he still respects Eastman, but he disagreed with the way he ran the executive board.

Famoye said she had concerns about whether the minutes from last week’s meeting – which are public – were complete and accurate. She said they may be slightly biased, as Elizabeth Reeths, Eastman’s girlfriend, kept the minutes. Reeths serves as RHA vice president for records.

Reeths said she always tries to quote people verbatim during the meetings.

“While these particular minutes were kind of toned down, I tried to get verbatim the important parts of what people were saying,” she said.

When asked about the motion to impeach Eastman, Reeths said RHA had the opportunity to impeach him, but because the group voted for him to stay, it was up to the organization to move on.

“I think what it came down to was that it was the decision of the assembly,” she said.

LSA sophomore Stephen Siciliano, executive vice president of RHA, said he thinks the organization will recover.

“I think it’s very important to focus on our missions and goals,” he said. “RHA will ultimately be able to move on.”

For now, though, Ilar said, Eastman’s charges could overshadow the group.

“The legacy he’s leaving is that five people have resigned,” he said.

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