Senator Karla Arango
TN: Why did you vote the way you did?
KA: “I voted yes in terms of the impeachment because for one, I wrote the impeachment. But more importantly, I feel like even if I didn’t have the evidence that was presented, I think that it was very clear to me that there were infractions within the Constitution that Lauren did and was guilty for. But also looking past that, I’m just kind of seeing how everyone was so open about how she has failed the student body. That in itself would have done it for me… I just knew that both of those counts [the violations in the Constitution] were factual and like I said, she was just guilty of doing those two things. I think that anyone regardless of what their position was in SGA, if they break the Constitution, then they should no longer be a part of the organization.”
TN: Why do you think impeachment was brought up?
KA: “So the impeachment was initially brought up, simply because for a while we had been having concerns on whether or not there was any form of misconduct within Lauren and her administration. But we didn’t really have any hard evidence, other than the executive order side of it and then as soon as we came back from break and we started doing Senator interviews, I remember a lot of the candidates that were getting interviewed. They had reached out to me afterwards and were like, ‘Yeah, we like I got rejected,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of weird.’ And then I was talking to some of the people on the nominating committee, and they were like, ‘Yeah, everyone passed unanimously,’ so Lauren made the executive decision to not let two candidates move forward; all six candidates had gotten approved by the nominating committee. So, after that we were kind of like, ‘okay.’ So we asked why the candidates that got interviewed were not before us and why they got rejected, and she was just kind of like, her answer not directly but it was essentially her being like, well I’m president, kind of thing, her exact quote was that she just had ‘personal concerns’ about each candidate. And then when looking at the Constitution and kind of analyzing that we were like, ‘Wait, she does not have any executive power that would allow her to do that with the numbers that we had.’ Because going into the senator selection, we were only at 21, and she does not have any executive power to appoint senators until we hit 25, which we are now at 25, because we got four new senators. But at the time she had no executive power to do so. So for us it was just a very clear infraction within itself of the Constitution.”
TN: Going forward, what is your plan as a Senator?
KA: “I think my biggest like goal is to still, regardless of whether or not Lauren got impeached, to still make sure that she’s being held accountable for her actions, not just her but the rest of SGA as a whole, including myself. There’s just there’s a very big disconnect to where I think that SGA has kind of transformed into working for the administration rather than the students, and I think that’s our biggest problem. So, working on ways to center the whole purpose of why we’re there to it being representing students, encouraging the student body to attend SGA meetings since they’re open. But overall it’s just like, trying to finish out this term, and show that SGA is there to listen to students and not just there to like, I guess what most people on campus think that we like don’t do anything, and I’m being quite honest, this entire year we really haven’t done anything; we’ve only passed two resolutions. And they haven’t even really been like student focused, everything that’s been student focused has been like shut down. So just kind of like recentering that the purpose of why we’re even there, like we swore to represent the student body and we sorta abide by the Constitution of SGA and that’s exactly what I think we need to start doing.”
TN: How do you feel about the multiple students who “testified” that they felt unsafe on campus and how are you representing those students?
KA: “Hearing a lot of those students talk, a lot of them like I know personally. And even though I knew them personally I did not know that that’s how they were feeling about being on campus and how their safety was being put at risk in various different ways. And it just kind of gave me, like, if anything, like a more of a motivation to ensure that we were doing things for those students, um, because obviously like I’m just like, I’m a pretty white-passing like Hispanic woman, but I have like the privilege of like most people don’t really assume that I’m Hispanic, they just assume that I’m white. And I’m kind of using that to my advantage in a way where it’s like, I could represent those students but also make sure that I’m not speaking for them and that they’re speaking for themselves. I think that my biggest thing is that after this week, I don’t think that I need to speak on student’s behalves anymore. I think that they’re more than capable of doing that themselves. I just have to give them the platform to do so. So I think that what I hope to do just within SGA and both in and outside of SGA is just to encourage students to share their experiences and if they don’t feel comfortable, that’s also okay, but just see what I can do and encourage the administration to do both in SGA and just NKU as a large like scale and be like that like, ‘These are student’s needs, these are student’s concerns and if we don’t address them as soon as possible, then we’re going to lose them and there’s not going to be anything that we can do.’ I think it’s safe to say that we’ve [SGA] lost a lot of credibility and that’s within reason. I think that that’s definitely what needed to happen for us to kind of in a lot of ways lose the trust of students because students shouldn’t trust SGA right now because we’re not representing them the way that we should be. But like even beyond that, I don’t think that NKU as a whole is representing students that the way that they should be. And just hopefully, this is a wake up call for those in SGA as well as those higher up in the university that the students are not playing around, that people are fed up, people are tired. And just ensuring that we continue to fight for all students and not just the top students that you always hear about, that are being talked about, or that I’m not just focusing on the good. I also think that it’s very important to say where we need to improve and I think that we’re lacking in that a lot right now.”
TN: What factors played into your decision of impeachment?
KA: “My biggest thing was just the accountability, because I had never been in SGA prior to last year’s fall semester. And I had heard about a lot of, like, corrupt things happening with SGA and I was like, ‘Well, it can’t be that bad.’ And now that I was in it, and then I was witnessing it firsthand, I was like, ‘If we don’t do something now to get the cycle to stop, it’s going to continue to happen and it’s going to be too late by the time we decide that someone needs to be held accountable.’ It shouldn’t take another openly white supremacist or person that is in power to be a horrible person and have to publicly showcase that for people to be like, ‘Oh, they’re not a good leader, they’re not a good person.’ It shouldn’t have to get to that point for us to be like, ‘Oh well something needs to change.’ And I always say that if we want things to change, you have to go ahead and start now, you can’t wait until it continues to get worse. And in terms of just the impeachment in itself. I remember me and the other senators that wrote the petition, we were just kind of like, ‘Enough is enough’ kind of thing. Outside of the petition, we tried to address things within. I know some people were trying to address things within eboard; other people were meeting one-on-one with Lauren, and it was like nothing was clicking, so it was not necessarily a last resort, but it was definitely something that I don’t think any of us intended on happening. But we were just fed up with no change being enacted after bringing up concerns multiple times.”
TN: What are your thoughts on the hate accounts popping up on Twitter?
KA: “I think that it’s just very telling on people’s characters. I think that anyone, anyone that knows specific people personally, I think they can start putting two and two together on who could potentially be behind the accounts. But it’s also something where obviously people are getting backlash on how they voted whether they voted for the impeachment or against the impeachment. But it’s also just kind of how you handle it. So, it’s funny to me how behind those hate accounts, they have to make fake accounts in order to say their concerns or kind of just be extremely disgusting and hateful; they can’t just tweet it off of their regular accounts and that’s because they know that it’s messed up and they’re very aware of it. They do it for the shock value, they do it so people keep talking about it. And in a way, those accounts have made it to where what happened on Monday hasn’t fallen under, and what was the whole like admission situation regarding like the horrible comments that were made about transgender women being able to play female sports, which they absolutely should. It was not even necessarily SGA targeted. It was as though someone literally wanted to make an anonymous account, just to piss people off. And looking at it, I obviously am very, very angry but I knew that the moment that any of us interacted, the worse that it would get. And it’s also interesting to me that they were only targeting specific senators within SGA, and they never directly targeted me. It was only specific senators which I thought was very, very interesting in itself, but I just think that whoever is behind that account, I think that they’re a coward. And I think that they just literally don’t have anything better to do.”
TN: Do you denounce this harassment and bullying?
KA: “Yes. I think that there’s a very clear difference between holding people accountable and bullying. There is a very clear line to me. Should people be angry at what happened Monday? Yeah. Is it okay if they say how they’re feeling in regards to that? Yeah. But in terms of that account that came up, I don’t even think that that is cyberbullying, that just straight up bigotry and hate speech that just should not be tolerated.”
TN: What are your thoughts on how the impeachment was conducted/handled? Do you think it was a properly held trial?
KA: “I do not think that it was properly structured. And I didn’t expect it to be just because I think the last time the President was impeached was in like 2009, so it’s something that hasn’t been done in a very, very long time. So we didn’t really know what it was going to look like going in, but in our heads, it was like, ‘Okay, we would read the entire petition, possibly even put it up on the screen so everyone else could see it, and then kind of go into a debate-style we knew that the like for and against was going to happen.’ But we didn’t know that we were going to have time restraints, we didn’t know Robert’s Rules would have to be followed that extensively… It [the impeachment article] was just too much information that was trying to be compacted within such a small amount of time that I was getting confused, our advisors were getting confused, the people that were watching were getting confused, everyone in that room was at one point confused. But, I think the best dialogue that was had was once we suspended the rules and once anyone could talk because I think that that just went to show how it wasn’t just SGA that was feeling this way; it wasn’t like a personal attack, it was us voicing the concerns of the student body and then once actual students outside of SGA were able to share their experiences, I think that’s when it made it more personal, and was like, ‘Okay, this is beyond just two infractions of the Constitution, like this is a lot bigger than we thought it was going to be.’
TN: What is your experience with learning about the impeachment process? Were you properly taught the correct procedures for when something like this happens?
KA: “It’s [impeachment] never something that’s addressed, I think that when I first joined, someone on Eboard mentioned how during the retreat during the summer before the school year starts they go over the Constitution. But that’s if you run in the spring. So going into the fall, those newly appointed senators as well as in the spring, we’d never go over the Constitution, like together. I guess the impeachment is just there because I feel like it needs to be but I don’t think that they ever expected anyone to use it.”
TN: Do you think it’s a conflict of interest that President Goodwin is dating Chief Justice Cleary?
KA: “Yes… Because we mentioned briefly during the impeachment trial that the only people that we could have gone to in regards to how the impeachment process works was the Judicial Council. And yes, there are other justices on there, but when their overseer and the person they’re out there learning everything from is the President’s boyfriend, that in itself causes a lot of issues because whatever information they get is from someone that’s trying to protect her, within reason. But he should be able to be unbiased and strictly abide by the Constitution.”