Influencing a vote?

A Judicial Council member has come forward to claim that Student Government Association President and Student Regent Keith Kaseke improperly tried to influence his vote on the recent removal hearing of former Executive Vice President Dennis Chaney. He also alleges that Kaseke punished him for casting a dissenting vote on the case by denying him a promotion to chief justice.

Martin Henderson, a graduating Judicial Council member, said Kaseke assured him that he was his top pick to be appointed as Chief Justice just days before the trial of Chaney was to begin last semester. Henderson was the only Judicial Council member to vote against removing Chaney from office.

‘I could tell the whole time that he was trying to influence me, to influence everything,’ Henderson said.

However, Henderson said he was not surprised to be considered for the position, just that the timing of sharing that with him was questionable.

‘This happened about a week or two before the hearing,’ Henderson said.
But Henderson said he did not let this influence his decision in the Chaney removal hearing. Now he is sharing an inside view on the deliberations that removed him from office.

Henderson indicated that he felt the proceedings and the decision on the Chaney removal were rushed. He said Dean of Students Jeffery Waple encouraged them to get the hearing over with. Henderson also said that deliberations lasted only 20 to 30 minutes because members of the Judicial Council had to get to class and final exams were approaching.
Counseling for Chaney and Kaseke on how to set aside differences and better work together was an idea suggested by Henderson.

‘It was Chaney and Kaseke. Its all it was… bickering back and forth,’ Henderson explained.

After Henderson was the sole dissenter in the removal hearing, he said Kaseke never again mentioned appointing him as Chief Justice.

‘Before the hearing and (Judicial Council) decision, I was an absolute shoe-in for Chief Justice this semester, but my opposition to the Chaney removal led Kaseke to reconsider appointing me,’ Henderson said. ‘After all, I was not his doormat and no one controls my ethical compass.’

Kaseke so far has not denied the allegations.

Despite allegations that Kaseke abused his power and tried to circumvent the student body’s will for the independent judgment of the Judicial Council, he said he considers the matter ‘personal issues that have nothing to do with how I can better NKU.’

‘At this time, I regret to let you know that I have limited availability for personal issues and ‘he said she said’ issues as I am focusing on working on projects for the greater good of the student body and the community here at Northern Kentucky University,’ Kaseke said.

Kasaeke agreed to meet with The Northerner and parties involved after a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers, but offered no other response to his alleged actions.

However, Kaseke did find time to meet alone with Henderson and tell Henderson that he should talk with him first about any issues Henderson had with him, according to Henderson. Henderson also shared that Kaseke voiced concern that the article in The Northerner would be one-sided. Nonetheless, Kaseke refused to comment publicly on the issue before the print deadline citing his work on behalf of the students.

While Kaseke is not commenting, Henderson had a few concerns about Kaseke’s leadership and how that has changed the focus of student goverment.

‘(SGA) really cared about the students as a whole. We tried to do some good things for the students. Now, its like they want to do good things for the administration,’ Henderson said. ‘The question becomes, ‘Do you want a doormat for the administration? Or do you want an advocate for the students? A lap dog or a watch dog?”

Henderson also said that Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple encouraged the Judicial Council to speed through the removal proceeding and that he impacted the way the students voted by making comments on Chaney’s behavior that was not among the impeachment charges.

But Waple denies he encouraged students to give inadequate consideration to the case.

‘I never said that. I think what I was saying was they need to get to it in a timely fashion. Sometimes these issues tend to drag on, and its not fair for the accused or the accuser to drag it on,’ he explained.

Henderson said that Waple describe Chaney’s behavior in secretly recording some conversations with Kaseke as ‘deceitful.’ Waple said that he did describe the behavior in that way and that he was unsure of whether it impacted the students’ decision.

‘To hide it to me shows that there’s an ulterior motive,’ Waple said about the recordings. ‘I think that’s unprofessional…You wouldn’t necessarily go into a meeting in the real world with a supervisor and tape record them (without knowledge.)’

Even though he was unsure about whether his comments influenced the outcome, Waple wanted to be clear that the decision belonged to the students alone. The office did provide training and support to ensure due process was afforded to the accused.

‘We’re not involved in any deliberation, or in decision making, nor involved in the vote. So, the students made that decision on their own which it should be that way,’ Waple said. He also said he thought Chaney received adequate due process.

Story by Jesse Call