The chair of the University’s chapter of the College Republicans may face impeachment at the club’s meeting tonight.
Chair Gordon Chaffin informed The Michigan Daily of his forthcoming impeachment, blaming his moderate beliefs as the driving force behind the push, in particular his support of President Barack Obama’s attempts to reform the American health care system. But following calls to all 13 members of the group’s executive board, none of the nine members reached would confirm or deny the reason for the censure motion.
Among those saying they had no comment was Brady Smith, adviser to the Board of College Republicans and a previous chair of the group. Smith said that other members of the group would not comment either.
“There should be a gag order put in place,” Smith said yesterday. “It is internal right now, and we aren’t ready to comment on what hasn’t happened yet. Before tomorrow, it is too early to speculate.”
The censure action is expected to be brought up at the group’s meeting tonight at 9 p.m. in the Tappan Room of the Michigan Union.
In an interview yesterday, Chaffin, an LSA senior, claimed group members have been searching for a reason to oust him because his ideology strays from that of some of his fellow group members. Along with being a supporter of Obama’s health care plan, Chaffin described himself as “pro-choice, opposed to the death penalty, in favor of same-sex marriage and willing to accept reasonable gun control laws” in a statement he prepared for tonight’s meeting and released to the Daily.
Additionally, Chaffin believes his past willingness to speak openly about his differing views has led to tonight’s proceedings.
Atop the list of these past incidents is an interview expected to be published Thursday in The Michigan Independent, a left-leaning campus publication, in which Chaffin referred to the 9/12 rally — a Glenn Beck-led march on Washington, D.C. protesting the proliferation of government spending and health care reform — as “misguided,” though he did mention that they were real people with real concerns, which is paraphrased in the article. Chaffin forwarded to the Daily a transcript of his quotes in the article that was provided to him by Jane Lawrence of the Independent.
In the interview, Chaffin also tried to dispel what he believed were myths about the death panel argument in the health care debate — which claims an earlier version of the health care bill would set up government panels to decide whether elderly people live or die.
“In its original legislative language, it was basically saying that the government would provide counsel to people nearing the end of their life,” he said, “(and) as someone who’s gone through hospice care with a couple of my grandparents, this is something that is incredibly helpful. It makes dying respectable and peaceful … it isn’t at all like the government or some company pushing death upon your loved one.”
Chaffin said he also drew criticism from group members for comments he posted on his Facebook page supporting Obama’s health care plan.
“Gordon Chaffin is a supporter of President Obama’s Healthcare Reform Plan … while it has faults … the totality of the plan is strong, will provide coverage to unisured (sic), cut costs, provide security and choice … I VOTE YEA MR. PRESIDENT!” he wrote on his Facebook page on Sept. 9.
In an e-mail to the group’s executive board provided by Chaffin, Events Chair Anthony Dzik, a Business sophomore, wrote that though Chaffin argues the quotes were meant to represent his own view, his actions represent the club’s views too.
“Although the chair may claim he is expressing his individual opinions, that does not remove him from the responsibility of representing the club,” Dzik wrote, “just as the actions of former president G. W. Bush reflected poorly on Republicans as a whole even though many of us did not fully support all of his actions.”
Dzik wrote that he is pushing for nothing “less than a censure of our chair,” though such a procedure does not currently exist within the group’s bylaws.
In the e-mail, Dzik proposed that with a censure of the president, the vice president would assume the group’s top position.
“While currently I am willing to suggest the fairly trivial punishment of censure, if only to distance the club from your negligence,” Dzik wrote in the e-mail, addressing Chaffin, “I suggest that any future behavior that need be censured cease, otherwise I will question your ability to carry out your office.”
In response to Dzik’s e-mail, Chaffin replied with an e-mail statement to College Republican executive board members.
In the statement, he defended his views and discussed what he knows of the proceedings.
Chaffin said he plans to attend tonight’s meeting to stand up for his beliefs.
“I will be there to talk and discuss my situation, but I will not cave in on the fact that I have the rights to say what I want,” Chaffin said.
“And if they believe that my views — when they are not offensive, sexist, not racist and not controversial at all — when they believe that my views are harmful, then fine, we disagree and I move forward, without the club,” he said.