“Don’t worry — no drama,” said Gordon Chaffin to hesitant board members of the University’s chapter of College Republicans as they trickled in last night in the Tappan Room of the Michigan Union.
After speculating that comments he made on his Facebook page and in an interview with The Michigan Independent meant that he would be immediately impeached, Chaffin, an LSA senior, announced his resignation as chair of the club.
Nine board members plus five curious onlookers watched Chaffin as he stood up and apologized for talking with The Michigan Daily about his potential impeachment before the matter was settled within the group.
“A couple of hours ago, we decided to resolve the situation,” he said. “I decided to resign. I feel that it is the best way to move forward for the health of the club. I apologize officially, and now to you each individually.”
Chaffin’s comments on his Facebook page, expressing support for President Barack Obama’s health care plan, as well as his decision to take part in an interview with The Michigan Independent, a left-leaning campus publication, without seeking the group’s permission, were the main reasons he suspected executive board members planned to impeach him.
At the meeting last night, Chaffin pre-empted the possibility of impeachment and made the resignation announcement before anything could happen.
“There were just some serious disagreements between myself and all of you as to how I should express my personal opinions in public,” he said. “That is something that I won’t cave in on, and I respect all of your rights to disagree.”
Charles Bogren, vice chairman external, accepted Chaffin’s apology with a firm handshake.
According to the group’s constitution, Bogren and LSA sophomore Gregory Cairns, vice chair internal, will be replacing Chaffin as chair until elections.
Bogren said that Chaffin is welcome back in the group and to join him on outings to the shooting range.
“Thank you for your time. I am glad we could fix this in an amicable way,” Bogren said after Chaffin’s apology.
In an e-mail to College Republicans, Bogren wished Chaffin luck and thanked him for his leadership.
“Following several disagreements with the Board both parties felt that the pursuit of new leadership would be in the best interest of the club,” he wrote in the e-mail.
Business sophomore Anthony Dzik, events chair and author of the impeachment hearing e-mail that led Gordon to suspect he was getting ousted at yesterday’s meeting, also accepted Chaffin’s apology.
“I accept his apology, and I hope he still remains in the College Republicans — maybe just not as our chair,” Dzik said.
In an interview after the meeting, LSA junior Kelly Mason, campaigns chair of the group, said Chaffin’s expression of his views that were not in line with the rest of the executive board created internal tension.
She added that Chaffin ran unopposed for the position, causing some in the group to question his ability.
“It is important for the chair to represent the whole party’s platform,” she said. “The club was divided in where they wanted to stand.”
Mason said she was glad the divide in the club was resolved in a civil manner and added that she believes the club is headed in “the right direction now.”
“It’s kind of a shame because of his hard work and dedication, although misguided at times,” she said. “He had discrepancies of communication within the club.”