As of tomorrow, Matt Handverger has some extra time on his hands. The embattled Student Government comptroller is slated to resign his post tonight at 5 p.m., in the wake of a grandiose impeachment process, which consumed the SG’s time and attention for almost two weeks. Many in that body will be sad to see him go. But some student senators will delight in his departure. They will say justice has been served. They may be right, although as usual, things appear more nuanced outside the SG bubble.
Matt Handverger makes an obvious but valid point when he claims the SG looks ridiculous in the wake of this ordeal. The impeachment process was prolonged, petty and nakedly political from its inception. Handverger should never have faced impeachment charges without warning. Certainly, someone should have spoken to him this summer and given him a metaphorical slap on the wrist. But the rush to impeachment was inappropriate, especially given the consequences of this whole saga.
Handverger’s resignation leaves AU with no SG comptroller for at least two weeks. When the position is finally filled, the new comptroller will be behind. He or she will need to find a new AUTO commissioner. In the interim, our campus will have to do without. One may wonder whether Handverger’s actions were worth the damage his impeachment hearings caused?
A skeptic might argue that, in the long run, this episode does more harm than good. It took too much time. It created a series of new logistical problems. Most importantly, though, it affirmed a damning public perception of the SG as a body more concerned with sorting out its own soap opera than serving this campus. Some may argue that Handverger’s opponents had personal as well as professional motives, and given the general tone of the impeachment process, this seems at least plausible. There was clearly an organized effort to bring the comptroller down, and this fact reveals the most troubling part of this whole thing.
Students can make mistakes and exercise poor judgment. And when they mess up, there should be consequences. Still, it seems reasonable to cut someone a little slack. It seems reasonable to suggest that some of us might take ourselves a bit too seriously. So as the SG emerges from Handverger-gate, perhaps all parties involved ought to do some reflection. How can this group of leaders more forward with their work? Well, for one thing, they should start by making sure nothing like the past two weeks ever happens again.