ASLMU Senator for Diversity and Inclusion Stephanie Martinez became the first ever sitting ASLMU senator to be impeached Sunday evening. After a three-hour long hearing, the senators took a vote: 18 senators voted in favor of impeaching Martinez, one voted against and two senators abstained.
Charges were brought forth by Senator for Diversity and Inclusion Camille Orozco on Oct. 6, who claimed Martinez was in violation of ASLMU Bylaws Article 8, which states that impeachment is constituted on the grounds of “conduct that severely damages the integrity or authority of ASLMU or the office held by the individual in question.” As previously reported by the Loyolan, these charges came forth after old tweets of Martinez resurfaced, featuring derogatory language toward undocumented students.
According to ASLMU Bylaws, the role of Senator for Diversity and Inclusion requires the senators to, “Represent the varying needs and issues related to identities including, but not limited to, gender, sexual orientation, culture, disabilities, and neurodiversity.”
The impeachment hearing was open to all students who registered through LEO. Upon entering the meeting, students were muted and the chat function was disabled. The only people permitted to speak were ASLMU officers and senators, as well as witnesses called forth by the complainant, Orozco and the respondent, Martinez.
The hearing began with opening statements from Orozco and Martinez; each party was given four minutes to speak without interruption. Orozco claimed Martinez’s conduct caused mistrust and disapproval of ASLMU by various students and student organizations such as The Learning Community (TLC) and First to Go –– both of which had representatives testify during the hearing. Martinez began by claiming the trial was not a result of misconduct, rather an attack against her political affiliation and an attempt to silence conservative students.
Following the opening statements were questions and testimonies from witnesses and other senators. ASLMU Vice President Elsie Mares testified on behalf of Orozco’s case. Mares talked about an ASLMU information session she held with the 2020 TLC cohort, which was quickly overshadowed by questions and concerns regarding Martinez’s role in ASLMU. Mares stated that she received many questions wondering why Martinez was allowed to hold her position after using language that seemingly contradicted the purpose of her leadership role.
Additionally, Mares stated that there is a lot of ideological diversity in ASLMU, but the issue lies in disparaging students and alienating them from campus resources.
ASLMU President Jack Palen claimed the authority and integrity of the office was damaged following Martinez’s alleged attempt to seek out conservative-leaning publications to disparage students petitioning for her impeachment.
Palen said, “If you're alienating those criticizing and holding you accountable, it doesn't seem congruent to me with being an elected student official.”
ASLMU Chief Programming Officer Brion Dennis said that ASLMU is essentially down a senator due to the mistrust Martinez’s actions have instilled in various students and student organizations.
Martinez opted to defend herself by saying the phrase “illegal aliens,” which she used in her tweets, is the most used term in title 8 of US code for immigration law. Martinez also stated that her role in ASLMU is to represent students of various identities, which would include students of a conservative background. However, according to Martinez, this does not require her to represent LMU students of “illegal citizenship status.”
Will Donahue, junior political science major, claimed that Orozco was the senator who damaged the integrity of the office by attempting to impeach the only known conservative member of ASLMU. Donahue continued to say that the impeachment was an attack on Martinez for being conservative and for supporting President Donald Trump. Donahue backed this statement by quoting the headline of a Sept. 29 Loyolan article which is titled, “Petition to impeach ASLMU senator resurfaces following the creation of 'LMU students for Trump' Instagram page.”
The Loyolan article states that a petition, created by an anonymous source, calling for the impeachment of Martinez was created in early May after Agency LMU released an article about Martinez’s past tweets. Traction for the petition slowed down over the summer, but quickly regained speed after Martinez revealed she created an LMU Students for Trump page. A few days after the Loyolan article was released, it was revealed that Senator Orozco had filed a formal complaint against Martinez.
The hearing also brought up an alleged retweet by Martinez that states, “My child will not be learning LGBT curriculum. I don’t give a damn what anyone wants to label me. My child will be homeschooled.” When asked how she planned on representing students who identify as LGBT in her role, Martinez responded by saying she was raised in a conservative Mexican household, where it’s not appropriate to be LGBT. However, according to Martinez, she can still represent LGBT students in a respectable manner, regardless of her personal beliefs.
In Orozco’s closing statement, she clarified that she intended to file a complaint against Martinez before the article was released. According to Orozco, ASLMU senators did not officially begin their respective positions until August which caused the delay. Orozco finished her closing by reiterating that Martinez damaged the integrity of the office and caused mistrust in ASLMU.
In Martinez’s closing statement she stated the “impeachment is a sham” and a case of “xenophobia against conservative students.”
Following the hearing, senators were given two minutes to vote where it was concluded that the vast majority of them voted in favor of impeaching Senator Martinez.
Following the impeachment, the Loyolan reached out to Martinez for a written statement to which she responded: “I am absolutely disappointed of the outcome, but I’m not surprised, it was expected. This is clearly a poorly disguised way of impeaching me for being a conservative. My stance on ILLEGAL immigration is a part of my political philosophy as a conservative and I should not be persecuted for it."
Martinez continued, “Nonetheless, I feel violated by leftist students and ASLMU. ASLMU should be ashamed of themselves. Not only did they show their true colors tonight but they also made it clear through their snickering, that they do not care for the well-being of conservative students on campus. ASLMU does not and will not have conservative students' best interest at heart and conservative students are furious! I apologize to conservative students on campus; I tried to be your voice, but I’m unable to win the fight against a mob mentality.”
In a statement to the Loyolan, ASLMU President Jack Palen said, “ASLMU seeks to serve each and every student here in our community. The Senate process is definite, it is written out in the bylaws, and it is being followed. The process has not yet concluded, so I cannot really judge the merit of the outcomes.”
According to Speaker of the Senate Kyle Saavedra, if the impeached senator files a complaint against the vote, it will be forwarded to the judicial branch for review. The judicial branch may reverse the impeachment if the alleged conduct does not qualify as grounds for impeachment or the process for impeachment appeared prejudiced. If the impeachment is not reversed, the senate will vote to remove Martinez at the next regularly scheduled meeting, which is Sunday evening.
More information on the impeachment hearing and the witness testimonies can be found in a series of live tweets by the Loyolan.