USC senator escapes impeachment, but loses stipend for being conservative
- Jacob Ellenhorn was accused of violating USC's 'Principles of Community' for bringing Milo Yiannopoulos to campus and speaking to Campus Reform.
- The Senate decided not to remove him from office, but voted 9-2 to withhold the rest of his stipend to send a message that there is no place for conservatism at USC.
The University of Southern California student senate has decided to allow one of their colleagues to remain in office, but is confiscating the remainder of his stipend as punishment for expressing his conservative political views in public.
“After hearing the truth about the false charges brought up against [me] by Diana Jimenez, my fellow senators decided to vote against my impeachment,” Jacob Ellenhorn told Campus Reform in a statement. “That said, while they have voted against removing me from office, they have decided to still punish me for my political views, and for exercising my First Amendment right to speak with members of the press. As part of this official punishment the last $250 installment of my $2 thousand stipend will be withheld.”
The Senate agreed with each of the three allegations against Ellenhorn—including two related to his affiliation with Campus Reform and his role in bringing Milo Yiannopoulos to campus as a member of College Republicans—but nonetheless declined to remove him from office, perhaps in order to disguise the politically motivated nature of the proceedings, as one student suggested in a letter to the school newspaper this week.
The first charge asserted that Ellenhorn had not behaved with sufficient alacrity in arranging meetings between the Senate Program Board and three Jewish students who had accused the head of the Women’s Assembly of student groups at USC of deliberately excluding Jewish speakers from a non-partisan event on campus.”
Ellenhorn previously described that particular claim as “full of crap,” saying his accusers failed to reveal that the victims in that scenario had declined to pursue the matter for fear of retaliation by unsympathetic senators.
“Additionally, the majority of Senators found Senator Ellenhorn to violate the USC Code of Ethics by bringing in Milo Yiannopoulos, a speaker who perpetuated inflammatory claims and created a hostile environment that detracted from healthy debate,” the senators write in their official impeachment ruling. “The senators believe that bringing in speakers with differing views encourages healthy discourse on campus and supports intellectual diversity. However, these speakers should not make sexist and derogatory comments that strive to alienate students on campus; this also violates the USC Principles of Community.”
The final charge against Ellenhorn is also the most suspect on First Amendment grounds, in that the senators accuse him of violating a policy even they are unable to identify, simply because he filmed an open, on-campus event in order to share the story with Campus Reform.
“The third violation declared that Senator Ellenhorn disobeyed filming codes for a Program Board event,” the decision states. “Senators disagreed on the meaning of this violation but agreed that Senator Ellenhorn should not have purposely filmed an event he intended to vilify, as it does not contribute to a respectful environment at the University.”
Even after upholding each of the original charges against Ellenhorn, however, the senators were unable to agree on whether the “violations” actually justified removal from office, though they concurred by a 9-2 vote with the need to “express that his actions were inappropriate and irresponsible,” and voted to deny Ellenhorn the remainder of his stipend in hopes that “this decision serves as [a] model for the whole organization to promote intellectually diverse dialogue without partisan bias and alienation.”
Ellenhorn responded to the decision calmly, informing his colleagues that he would be spending $250 out of his own pocket to ensure that their actions did not negatively affect wounded veterans.
“Since the beginning of my term I had made the decision to donate all $2,000 of my stipend to a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, the Wounded Warriors Project,” he explained, adding, “I do still plan on making a $2,000 donation and will use the $250 I earned while working over last summer to fulfill that amount.
“Individuals who enter public service do so because they care deeply about their community, not about stipends,” he declared.
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