Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

senate 5/28.png

After second week of senate debate, Brooke elected Judicial Council president

The week after the Keenan Revue pilloried “a young ambitious dorm senator” from Carroll Hall with “his dumb, blonde hair,” the student senate reconvened on Wednesday evening to once again consider Hunter Brooke’s nomination to Judicial Council president, ultimately passing it. Brooke’s nomination failed last week, receiving 14 yes votes, 15 no votes and nine abstentions. This week, Brooke’s nomination received a total of 19 yes votes, 13 no votes and seven abstentions.

The senate’s first general order was to redistribute $251,595 in funds from the COVID-19 response financial account, which were allocated to The Shirt charity endowment.

Student Union treasurer Hannah Blaskiewicz explained that the fund was established to hold unspent pandemic-related funds.

“During COVID-19, the University closed, so there was a bunch of money that the student union couldn't use because people weren't here,” she said.

The Shirt charity fund provides money to students in “an extraordinary medical situation” and “in a situation where they have a financial necessity for money,” Blaskiewicz said.

Next on the docket was a resolution to update the wall of North Dining Hall to remove Zahm House and to add newer dorms such as Johnson Family Hall. The issue was postponed following a motion by Dillon Hall senator Sam Godinez.

“I just want to say there are a lot of visitors in here, who will probably want to think of something else than the resolution. So I am motioning to postpone till next week,” Godinez said, in reference to Brooke’s nomination.

Current Judicial Council president Koryn Isa offered an addendum to her nomination letter last week.

“I would like to acknowledge that I am fully aware that my re-nomination of Hunter has caused some dismay,” she read aloud. “As I stated previously, I feel strongly that nominating Hunter is in the best interest of the Student Union and that I would be doing a disservice to concede so quickly in the face of pushback.”

“In Hunter’s case, your predecessors in the senate decided that the allegations did not warrant impeachment nor a hearing for removal from office,” she added. “I believe that the claims that assert Hunter’s lack of sound constitutional interpretation assume a malicious intent that cannot be proven.”

Brooke took the opportunity to “pull the curtain back” and tell the story of his love affair with student government.

“So I’ll start with high school in which I did a lot of service work probably like all of us, I'm guessing, but we really didn't have a student government, and so when I was headed to Notre Dame and looking for opportunities to continue to serve the people around me, I stumbled on Notre Dame student government,” he said. “And I remember finding a copy of the [student union] constitution and thinking, oh my gosh, a real life constitution. I found a recording of [then-student body president] Rachel Ingal delivering the state of the union address. And I think I … nearly fell out of my chair.”

Brooke characterized his behavior leading to his impeachment recommendation as merely immature.

“It's kind of like a little puppy that just got off the play, and was so excited and was running around and was peeing on the floor, and eventually getting people by accident. And obviously, one of those nips was the FUEL incident,” he said. “I’ve never really had malicious intentions.”

Debate once again raged on the nomination.

“I guess I'm confused as to how you can currently claim that you have vast knowledge of the constitution,” Mary Grace Walsh, director of the department of disability advocacy, said.

Knott Hall senator Clay Chauncey asked Brooke if he thought that his serving in this position would benefit the student body.

“I'd say the Judicial Council does not have the most sort of direct impact with students, but I think by uplifting other students, student leaders, and by ensuring that we have clean and transparent and accountable elections,” Brooke said.

Chauncey seized on his words.

“You mentioned uplifting student leaders. Do you think the fact that the majority of student senators voted against your nomination kind of contradicts that point?” he asked.

Several senators brought witnesses who they ceded time to. Former Ryan Hall senator Jessica Vickery spoke in favor of Brooke.

“He loves this and he's not just doing it just to do it for future jobs, resume, things like that. He's doing it because he cares about Notre Dame, and he's doing it because he wants to actually put an effort to actually do something with his year as the Judicial Council head,” she said.

Chauncey offered a point of order.

“Seeing that our constitution states that nomination of judicial council has to pass through senate, and it's already failed, I would argue that this person is unqualified, and I think that this entire nomination should be considered out of order,” he said.

Student body vice president Aidan Rezner disagreed and emphasized the slim margin on the previous vote.

Former Keough Hall senator Derick Williams, Brooke’s one-time running mate, also spoke.

“It's been a while since I've been here and I forgot how tense this room can be sometimes,” he said. “We want people to be involved, especially younger people. And I think opportunities like that can seem exciting in the moment. And then in retrospect, you realize the mistakes you've made, and again, Hunter has owned up to that and something that I've appreciated seeing him because very much so we've all changed.”

Pangborn Hall senator Charlie Pehl said he had abstained last week, but had now committed to vote for Brooke.

“I think that today's meeting … shows that it's very clear that Hunter is not some malicious guy, or power-hungry guy that can be very corrupt. It seems very clear that he's grown a lot and is very eager and I think it's very important to see that,” he said.

Baumer Hall senator Thomas Kluck said he had not changed his mind.

“I feel like we made a decision last week, and I trust that decision and that judgment. I don't think I was a dumb person last week, and I don't think I'm that much smarter this week. And so, I think we made a decision and if our judgment was respected, we would not be talking about this right now and we probably would be out of this room,” he said.

Former parliamentarian Griffin McAndrew also spoke about his working relationship with Brooke, encouraging senators to vote against him.

“I worked very closely with him on a number of issues, including food robots, flex points, the whole shebang basically and prior to that [impeachment] meeting, I know we've had a strategy meeting,” he said. “I came out of that meeting, to be honest, feeling like a total idiot. I felt tricked. I felt taken advantage of and from then on, our relationship deteriorated. That was one of the largest factors in why I ran for student body [vice president]. It was one of the larger factors when I applied for parliamentarian. Hunter betrayed my trust in a lot of ways during the meetings.”

Walsh also urged senators to vote against the nomination.

“The Judicial Council president is someone who nominates people for other positions, and to put someone in a position like Judicial Council president, who has a known history of appearing before the ethics commission with apparently unethical allegations ... it just feels like a no brainer to not elect him. And I'm like, 'You guys have other options?'” she said, referring to Thomas Musgrave.

Musgrave, the Judicial Council vice president for peer advocacy, spoke earlier in the meeting and said he had applied for the position, though he supported Brooke’s nomination.

The vote was held with a showing of hands. Brooke was welcomed back into the room with a round of applause.