Student Government president suspended for one week after reelection campaign sanctioned by Judicial Board
Brodie campaign faces sanctions after being found guilty of violating codes in the Elections Policy Book
Editor’s Note: Jacob Fishman, the assistant editor of the yearbook, is a graphic designer for The Eagle. Fishman has not been involved in the writing, reporting or editing of this story and its multimedia elements.
American University Student Government President Chyna Brodie has been suspended for one week from her role as SG president, and the Brodie campaign faces various sanctions including a 25 percent cut in campaign funding and a public apology after a campaign video was reposted to the AU yearbook Instagram page.
The SG Judicial Board released its decision on Wednesday evening after a hearing on Tuesday. The hearing was prompted by a report to the Judicial Board after the reposting of a Brodie campaign video to the AU yearbook Instagram page, which Brodie acts as the editor-in-chief of.
Three sanctions were placed on the Brodie campaign including removing the reposted video, which was uploaded on March 16 and taken down later that day. In addition to her suspension, a public apology is to be posted on Brodie’s official campaign Instagram page until presidential election results are posted, and a 25 percent cut in funding from remaining funds that were allocated to Brodie’s campaign. Michael Picchi, the chair of the judiciary board, told The Eagle that the exact amount that will be cut from the Brodie campaign’s funding will be released in the upcoming days.
The reposting of the campaign video was found to be a violation of the Election Policy Book, which states that no use of official powers provided to any student through any organization recognized by American University may be used to benefit a campaign by a candidate or campaign staffer. Brodie and sophomore yearbook Assistant Editor Jacob Fishman, who shared the video to the account’s Instagram story, were found to be in violation of this due to Fishman’s official role as assistant editor for the yearbook.
Brodie was also suspended from her role as SG president until March 30 after being found in contempt of the Judiciary Board by a majority vote for lying to the board during her testimony on Tuesday. The board stated in their Order of Contempt that Brodie claimed Fishman was a freshman multiple times and told the board that she knows Fishman very well.
In the audio recording of the testimony provided by the Judicial Board, Brodie said “Within this specific instance about that I think the campaign team should be let off with a warning. And I say this because number one it was committed by someone who was a first-year.”
The board made the decision that she intentionally lied about Fishman’s year in order to receive lighter sanctions, resulting in the order of contempt.
“I feel like the sanctions are a little much given that what this case is about a member of my team is putting something on an AUSG Instagram account for under two hours that he didn’t know was a violation,” Brodie said in a comment to The Eagle.
Brodie told The Eagle that she found out that Fishman was a sophomore and not a freshman at the time of the judiciary board’s decision being released, but that she does take responsibility for actions of members of her team. Fishman declined to comment on the decision.
“I think when you go and read the order that the judicial board put out, that one to me is completely an overreach,” Brodie said. “Because to me, if you look up the definition of a lie that means intentionally meaning to deceive. I misspoke, I thought Jacob was a first-year. Everything that I quoted in that order still stands and is correct, it is his first year on campus.”
Per the SG constitution, the comptroller, Paul Relyea will assume the duties of the president for the duration of Brodie’s suspension.
An injunction was also made to remove Senator Coleman Maxwell from the Brodie campaign staff and to prohibit all future involvement with the campaign due to the Elections Policy Book policy that prohibits any active member of SG from working as a campaign staffer.
Maxwell did not respond for comment at the time of publication.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.