By Laura Acuff, Opinion Editor
Former Students’ Association Congress President Daniel Paul Watkins was not ACU’s first black SA Congress president.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what an Associated Press article reported yesterday, based on an interview with Watkins, himself. In reality, that honor belongs to C.B. Barber, who served during the 1993-94 school year.
The deceit, however, does not end there. The misleading article, which appeared on the Web sites of newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle and Fort Worth’s Star Telegram, indicates Watkins gave the impression the impeachment process surprised him.
“It feels like the rules were changed in the middle of the process, but I didn’t know what my recourse was,” Watkins reportedly said.
Actually, Watkins, along with his executive officers, approved the process of impeachment prior to its occurrence. Watkins knew and understood protocol. The only aspects of the impeachment process that differed from the measures the executive officers approved involved the number of voting Congress members and the length of time given to testimonials.
While, as the circulating article reports, “The university’s constitution says impeachment requires a three-fourths vote of the entire student government body – and all 43 members were not there,” the decision to go ahead with the vote came from the SA Congress advisors and university administrators, who are allowed to make such decisions.
As to the increase in time for executive officers’ testimonials, Watkins is right to be disturbed – not, however, because any of his rights were violated. The approved 2-minute time period allotted to executive officers’ testimonials was extended to 10 minutes by a majority decision, also allowable. Clearly, Congress members desired more time to fully explain themselves. Their complaints must not have been reducible to 2-minute time slots.
The most disturbing aspect of this ordeal, however, is Watkins’ betrayal of his school and his student body.
Upon taking the oath of office last spring, Watkins promised to represent us to the best of his ability. Even now, after his impeachment, Watkins insists his concerns remain for the campus.
“What’s most important is that students at ACU are advocated for and a fair resolution comes about,” Watkins said in the AP article.
Yet instead of quietly working with university officials to right this supposed injustice – achieved by a process Watkins himself preapproved – Watkins immediately found a national outlet with which to besmirch the university and, as a result, its student body.
According to the Associated Press article, Watkins plans to spend spring break “thinking and praying about the situation,” before deciding whether or not to appeal his impeachment.
He approved the impeachment process. He deemed it a fair and just means of decision making. He just did not like the result.
In appealing his impeachment, Watkins would undermine not merely our elected Congress members’ decision, but democracy itself.
Clearly, Watkins’ goal is not to represent the students. Watkins’ actions prove him to be more interested in self-representation than selfless service.