Michigan Student Assembly Rep. Kenneth Baker said yesterday that he plans to resign his seat on the assembly. Since Tuesday night’s MSA meeting, Baker has been under fire for being a member of an offensive Facebook.com group started over a year ago by MSA President Zack Yost. Baker brought the group to the attention of the assembly on Tuesday.
The Facebook group mocked MSA Rep. Tim Hull. Its description contained a reference to Hull’s Asperger’s syndrome. “I’ll give that kid a fucking disability he can write home about,” it read. Hull told The Michigan Daily on Wednesday that he wanted both Baker and Yost to resign from MSA because of their involvement in the group.
Although Baker announced his resignation to LSA Student Government President Keith Reisinger today, it will not become official until Baker submits a letter to LSA-SG. Baker said he will attend the group’s meeting next week to submit his letter, explain his actions and answer questions.
At its meeting Wednesday night, LSA-SG voted in favor of holding a trial to decide whether Baker should remain on the assembly. The trial could have resulted in his removal from MSA. LSA-SG won’t cancel the trial until Baker’s resignation is official, Reisinger said.
Baker said he is resigning because Hull personally asked him to step down, not because of the student government’s decision to try him. LSA-SG has the power to remove Baker from his position on MSA because they appointed him to the assembly to fill a vacancy.
Reisinger said that because LSA-SG voted to try Baker, he has no rights as an MSA representative until the trial, meaning he cannot vote at next week’s MSA meeting.
In his statement at Tuesday’s MSA meeting, Baker said he made the Facebook group public in order to preserve the assembly’s honesty to its constituents.
“They deserve to continue hearing the truth about their government and its leadership, regardless of whether or not this government wishes to hear it,” Baker said.
He went on to ask whether the assembly would choose honesty to the student body over loyalty to fellow representatives.
Baker said in an interview yesterday that the Facebook group had two additional members at one point but refused to reveal their names. One of the members, he said, is an “influential” member of the assembly.
Baker denies that exposing the Facebook group – which came more than a year after he joined the group and only a day before MSA elections – was politically motivated.
Baker didn’t tell Hull that he was planning on making the group public until less than an hour before the Tuesday meeting.
MSA Rep. Stella Binkevich said that such issues should be discussed in private, not in front of the whole assembly at a public meeting.
Binkevich said it was disappointing that the situation played out the way it did.
“Although it’s unfortunate when anyone on the assembly chooses to resign, I respect his decision,” Binkevich said.