Just weeks after a seemingly uneventful election, members of the University’s chapter of College Republicans have recently been caught in a power struggle between the group’s executive board and the chair, as both sides are claiming legitimate leadership of the group.

LSA junior Rachel Jankowski, the newly elected chair, said the executive board does not have the constitutional right to remove her, but the executive board alleges that it unanimously voted her out of her position.

According to an source affiliated with the College Republicans who wished to remain anonymous, the four voting members of the newly elected executive board attempted a clandestine coup of Jankowski.

“Several members of the voting executive board tried to suppress that they were having these meetings,” the source said.

Jankowski said the executive board did not give her notice of their intentions to remove her before Sunday, just weeks after the group’s March 15th elections. She added that she did not formally assume office until April 3.

“I was given no reason for the proceedings,” Jankowski said. “I was in office for five days when the proceedings were brought.”

A previous version of the College Republicans’ constitution allows for members of the executive board to remove the chair without obtaining approval from the group at large if the executive board is united in its decision.

However, a constitutional amendment passed at the group’s Wednesday night meeting requires a vote by the general membership to remove a member of the executive board.

LSA sophomore Russ Hayes, a voting member of the executive board, wrote in an e-mail interview that the board had several legitimate reasons for removing Jankowski.

Hayes alleged that she committed funding to an event without consulting other members, prevented members from using the College Republicans’ social media accounts, invited a speaker to a College Republicans’ meeting against the wishes of other members of the group and made “slanderous, offensive remarks” about the organization

As for the event that she supposedly committed funding to, Jankowski said the executive board knew that she been talking to a member of the Washtenaw GOP about hosting an event tomorrow, but that no money was ever given to the countywide organization.

“I never committed any unauthorized use of funding,” Jankowski said. She added that even if she had, “it’s common practice for us to be reimbursed by the Washtenaw GOP.”

Jankowski also refuted the claims that she blocked other members from using the College Republicans’ social media accounts.

“I have no access to the Facebook or Twitter accounts currently and I have not had it since they claim to not have had access to it,” Jankowski said.

Furthermore, Jankowski said the she originally planned on bringing the speaker in question, Gary Glenn, a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate to the meeting with Hayes.

“(Hayes) approved the event and he was actually the one who said we should go along with it,” Jankowski said. “It’s incredibly funny that now I’m the only one that was planning it.”

University alum Sarah Ledford, now youth vice chair of the Michigan Republican Party, met with Jankowski in Ann Arbor and advised her on “parliamentary procedure” regarding the situation.

“(There was) an attempted power grab by two members of the executive board … Two members of the e-board bullied two other members of the e-board into attempting to oust another member of the e-board who was voted by a vast majority of the general membership,” Ledford said. “(They) attempted to oust her literally within five days of her chairmanship.”

In an e-mail obtained by The Michigan Daily, Hayes informed Jankowski that she was being impeached on Sunday, and he requested she attend a meeting on Monday to discuss the impeachment. The e-mail stated that she was being removed for violating the constitution, and failing to perform her proper duties.

Jankowski replied that she would not be able to meet Monday or Tuesday, so they decided to meet on Wednesday, following the organization’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Jankowski said she went to the Center for Campus Involvement for advice regarding the situation on Wednesday morning, after which she decided to attempt to amend the constitution to ensure decisions about her impeachment involved all members of the organization.

At 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, after the amendment was approved, the four voting members of the executive board met with Jankowski to discuss her removal.

Less than an hour later, the College Republicans held an executive board meeting that Jankowski did not attend. During the meeting, which was adjourned at 1:50 a.m., the board formally removed Jankowski from office.

Jankowski said an e-mail calling for the meeting was sent out at 10:29 p.m. and that the meeting in the Michigan Union was called to order six minutes later. She added that she was not aware of the meeting until after 11 p.m.

“How do they read their e-mail immediately and get over to the Union?” Jankowski said. “It just seems a little ridiculous, a little bit fishy and a little bit premeditated.”

Regardless, Jankowski said she plans on fulfilling her term.

“I remain committed to serving as chair for this organization which democratically elected me,” Jankowski said. “(I) will not allow four power hungry individuals to override the rule of the vast majority of the club.”

While the newly amended constitution prevented the executive board from removing Jankowski without a general membership vote, Hayes said the amendment didn’t abide by the organization’s constitution because it was not publicized before the meeting, a process required by Robert’s Rules of Order, a general body of laws for governing an organization.

“Essentially, without notice or call to order as clearly defined in Robert’s Rules of Order … Ms. Jankowski and Mr. Koziara (a senior advisor for the College Republicans) tried changing the Constitution fraudulently,” Hayes wrote.

Ledford, however, contended that the meeting had no legitimacy.

“They’re literally sitting in a room and talking to each other and raising up their hands with no parliamentary authority to do so,” Ledford said.

Ledford said she advised Jankowski “to maintain the integrity of the College Republicans,” and added that executive board members harassed Jankowski, stalked her outside her classes and sent her hostile e-mails.

While Ledford said she involved herself in the dispute because she felt it was her duty to do so, Hayes wrote she has no place in the issue.

“Quite honestly, I believe that she was only invited to serve as parliamentarian for the attempt to fraudulently change the constitution at the meeting earlier today,” Hayes wrote. “Sarah Ledford holds no power or sway over any (College Republican) chapter in the state of Michigan and it is, frankly, inappropriate for her to once again insert herself into these situations.”

Before the executive board formally voted to remove her, Jankowski said they had already begun the impeachment process.

She added that her name was removed from the College Republican’s Student Organization Accounts Service list — a six-person list that allows the group to book rooms for its meeting at the University and use club funds — on Tuesday at 3 a.m.

Ledford said this internal fight within the College Republicans is unprecedented.

“This is a very extreme situation in regards to a power grab and just complete lack of consideration for the wishes of the general membership of the College Republicans,” Ledford said. “Particularly across the state, there is nothing like happening at all in other College Republican groups.”

Despite the intense internal strife, Jankowski said public knowledge of the issue is good for the organization.

“We are trying to give transparency and legitimacy to the organization,” Jankowski said. “If there is an impeachment of an executive board member, it is only fair that the general membership knows about it.”

Despite the leadership kerfuffle, Hayes wrote that he is optimistic.

“I’m proud of this organization’s standards and the awesome potential we have to broaden the political dialogue on campus,” Hayes wrote. “I’m disappointed Ms. Jankowski was not able to live up to those standards, but I’m excited for the year ahead with such a dedicated group of people.”

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