Senator Katherine Carter
Katherine Carter, freshman integrative studies major.
The Northerner: Why did you vote the way you did?
Katherine Carter: “I voted to impeach. And I feel like there was a point, President Goodwin stepped over the line a few too many times. And it wasn’t—I wish they had included it in the petition more—of things that she’ll say that you’ll hear. I’ve never heard anything like firsthand of some of the stuff that she said. But if you were at the meeting, there were plenty of other people who had brought up things that she had said that they heard in the past. And under our Constitution, anything that makes the student body or SGA … almost makes us look bad, like as a student body, and kind of doesn’t represent us properly, that’s grounds for removal. And, yes, she did do other things like not include those two senators, when we were, we only had—I believe we only had 21 senators—and we need 25 to function at full capacity. So, based on my interpretation of the Constitution, I voted for impeachment. There are people that I know who voted against impeachment just because they felt the petition wasn’t enough. And after I talked to them after, they said they would have voted for impeachment if the petition had stated more of the things that she had said in the past and things like that and explained how they were cause for impeachment—not necessarily just saying, ‘oh, they’re cause for impeachment.’ But explaining the real why.”
TN: What factors specifically played into you voting to impeach her?
Carter: “I think some of the factors that made me vote to impeach was, especially, the fact that there were so many people there that supported her impeachment. And the social media, like, outpour and outcry that people had felt like they’d been wronged. And in some ways, I felt like I had been wronged. I mean, I came into this. I ran as a Freshman Senator. I got elected. When I was talking to people about why I was running, I was saying, ‘Oh, I wanted to make change. Oh, I am an indigenous queer woman. So of course, I want to make it better for everybody like me—everybody, not like me.’ And those are things that I ran on. But then when I got to being an SGA Senator, I felt a little discouraged. I felt like there wasn’t encouragement from the President and the e-board. I felt like I got a lot of encouragement from my Chairwoman, Hannah Miller, ‘cuz she’s just fabulous and it’s wonderful. But, when you come in, and you feel like the president isn’t super supportive of these ideas, and isn’t expressing her full support and stuff that’s happening. I also felt like she wasn’t very well-versed in what was happening in each of these committees, which I’m like, ‘you’re the president of SGA. Maybe you should be.’ There were things that happened in the petition that guided me to support my decision. But it was also like seeing how other people felt and how I felt and kind of relating and making this big web of like everybody and everything that had happened and I was like, I can’t, in my conscience, I can’t vote nay. I have to say aye.”
TN: Why do you think impeachment was brought up?
Carter: “In my personal opinion, I think the impeachment was like—like they took a big step. Of course, this was my first year in the administration. And I know everybody else who had been a senator for longer was like—excuse my language, but fed the f*ck up—they were over it. I was like, maybe there are other steps we could take: bring up complaints, have a discussion and then bring up an impeachment. Toward the end, it wasn’t, but for a while there, it was a little like hush hush and was like, ‘Oh, you want to impeach her? Oh, I also want to impeach her.’ And it was kind of like, it was almost like people were acting in secrecy and the people acting in secrecy are people who are fed up with the administration. They felt like nothing was getting done. They felt like there were empty promises. They felt like she had just like—the President’s for the past few administrations have just been like, they’ve trimmed the hedges and set them out. They picked them and they’re over it. And they’re like, I’m tired. The seniors in the administration were tired of her and what she was doing. And not just of her, of this whole, all the bullsh*t that happens. Because, from what I hear, it’s not just this administration. It’s administration after administration after administration. And so the senators finally said, ‘Enough is enough. And we’re like, gotta impeach.’ There are definitely other measures that could have been taken. And now we’re putting measures in place to make sure it never gets to the extent that it did. I’m not sure if you’ve talked to Jimmy Renton or Xavier Sullivan but they both are working on legislation that will put in place like a check for the e-board, and other senators that people are concerned about. Which, honestly, this should have been put in place, like years ago, like this should have been one of the like things first made so that students could actually have a say.”
TN: What are you going to be doing now to represent the students—specifically students of color and members of the LGBTQ community—because the impeachment failed and many of them spoke at the meeting about how they don’t feel represented or protected?
Carter: “Yeah, I can feel them on a deep personal level. I understand what it feels like to not be represented. I mean, I grew up not near a reservation, so I was kind of just like alone in the wilderness. I didn’t see people like me on TV. So I know what it feels like to not … there wasn’t even an indigenous senator or representative until this like past election cycle in federal government. So I know what it feels like to not be represented. And, so obviously, I want them to feel represented at school. That’s like the one place that you should feel like you are loved and appreciated. And I think the first step is continuing on with the initiatives that we have. I, along with Xavier Sullivan, we have like a diversity agenda kind of thing happening. Where, we are first working on a Africana Studies/Black Studies/Africology—whatever term we end up using—we’re looking at expanding that program and also making it a major because, right now, there are two classes. They’re not very good classes. And one of them is just like, whatever that professor chooses to teach about. It’s a 494 class. And so that’s kind of the first step: expanding these things—expanding those classes, minors majors. And one of the things that they’re telling, like that I’ve been told, is that we have to get the student population to show interest in it. Which, I feel like, that’s kind of unfair when we don’t have … how can we gauge interest when this has never been offered here before? It’s not usually offered in Kentucky, but let me get off my soapbox.
But then also moving on and like making sure there’s diversity in SGA in the future. Making sure we stand up for people for a diverse administration. And again, with the expanding the diversity program, making sure we get the American Indian class renamed. Making sure when we come across a professor, or there’s something that administration says that is not okay, we get that figured out, we go to them, and we have a discussion because we can’t let racism happen on campus and we can’t let discrimination happen on campus. There’s a difference between free speech and hate speech, and, yeah, there’s like a fine line. But we have to figure it out that line, and we have to make sure that we stop that on campus because that’s the only way we’re gonna get through this. And right now, there’s a lot of focus on minorities on campus. Of course, there are everything that’s happening. But I also think we need to go by and make everybody feel safe. So we need to make minorities feel safe. So people like me, people who are queer, people who are BIPOC, women. And we also need to make sure there are resources for these people to feel safe. Right now, the counseling website does not—they have things listed like to reach out to them like, ‘oh, you’re struggling with school? You’re struggling with friendships and relationships? Then you can reach out to us. But they don’t have things like, ‘oh, you’re struggling with your identity. Oh, you’re struggling with a sexual assault. You’re struggling with discrimination on campus?’ Reach out to us. They don’t have that listed. So making sure that people like me also feel comfortable reaching out to counseling services, and making sure on their website that they have places for support.
It goes beyond making sure Lauren Goodwin gets what she deserves. It goes beyond that. This is a bigger discussion. Yeah, everybody’s focused on Goodwin right now. But let’s look at the bigger picture. Because it’s not just going to be one administration. It’s been happening for plenty of administrations. And then, like, the actual University is almost like, they aren’t saying anything about what’s happening. And then they’re like, they’re almost able to use her as a scapegoat. And we can’t let that happen. And we need to make sure there are bigger choices and bigger things being done. SGA, we can’t do very much. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this. We’re like recommendations. We’re like a voice for the student body. We hand out recommendations for things. Now it’s to make sure that we get all the people who went to the last SGA meeting to hold the administration accountable for the things that we want to pass—things that we do pass. Oh, you think my diversity initiative is great? Oh, great. Well tell the administration that. Oh, you think Africology would be a great, like major? Tell the administration that. It goes beyond just yelling at Goodwin for like an hour. It goes beyond that. Because, yeah, that sucks. It sucks. She didn’t get impeached. That is awful. Now, what are we going to do about it?”
TN: What are your thoughts on all of these recent hate accounts that have been popping up on Twitter that are specifically targeting students of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community?
Carter: “I’m angry. I mean, first and foremost, like, these are my people, I’m going to be upset. And, I mean, just being someone who, I look very white, and I also look straight. I walk down the street—I’m scared because, you know, I’m a woman—I’m not scared because I have dark skin or because I look a certain way or because I’m very obviously queer. I have so much privilege to be on campus, like this, that is, just, I think it’s pretty great. But then also to look and act the way I do. I don’t have a particular accent. Obviously, I’m not Black and I don’t talk in AAVE (African American Vernacular English). I’m very blessed to be the way I am. But then I can’t help but be very, very enraged at what goes on. It’s the same feeling I had whenever a pipeline happens, like, these are my people. These are people you shouldn’t mess with. It’s the same feeling as when, like a shooting happens. Those are my people. I feel this way for everybody, but especially these minority groups who I identify with in the deepest part of my soul in my identity. I was talking to Xavier about it—our identity plays a lot into who we are and how we feel. And me being a white, indigenous queer woman plays a lot into how I feel about every situation. When I see hate groups come on campus not just at NKU but at universities all around here, I get really upset. And then I get even more upset when I see administration, in both student governments and at university—at the larger university administration level— I can’t help but cry a little bit, and then want to do something. If you aren’t a part of those groups, I feel like it’s kind of hard to understand that feeling.
So if anybody was at a SGA meeting, and they saw how we acted, and I cried. I was sitting in my chair, and I cried. And when I got up to the mic to speak, my voice just got higher and higher and higher. And if you aren’t someone who knows me, if you aren’t a part of the community, you have no idea. You really don’t know why we act the way we do when situations like this come about. These are people; we are going to be upset. We are going to want to do something, and we don’t want to wait any longer. You know, [Goodwin] kept on bringing up ‘Oh, you guys are just giving me a week … I need more than a week.’ No, you’ve had forever. You’ve had however long you’ve lived. Okay. It isn’t just about what she’s done in this administration. Has she done anything to combat it before she was in the new administration? Fact check me on this—because again, this is my first year—was she a senator before this? Could she have even done anything? Have we seen her do anything? Because white privilege is something that you have to fight every single day of your life. And then she says things? Did anybody fact check her when she was running for office? Did anybody see if she had done anything? Probably not, which is why we’re in this situation we are in? Are we seeing the people who voted nay? Are they doing anything to fight white privilege? There’s someone very near and dear to my heart who voted Nay, and voted against her impeachment. But then they were out there in Louisville fighting for Breonna Taylor’s death. They feel these things to their core like I feel them. And so yes, they voted nay. But also we need to look at kind of this bigger picture. Are we going to stand as a community in this long run?”
TN: What are your thoughts on how the actual impeachment vote was conducted? Do you think it followed proper protocols and guidelines? Do you think it was properly conducted?
Carter: “So [an] argument that was brought up a lot at the impeachment was that we should have gone—well, I wasn’t really involved in the petition—but that they should have gone to the Supreme the judicial [council]—the people who are looking at our Constitution. The problem with that is who leads them? Guess what? Her boyfriend? And yeah, they were allowed to do this, they voted yes. Well, I’m sure when they voted yes to allowing him to take that position, they weren’t thinking Lauren Goodwin was going to be going through an impeachment trial where that area of SGA was needed. I think there’s also like something that they wanted him to step down, if the impeachment had gone forth, they wouldn’t want him to look at the constitution and have a say in whether Lauren got impeached or not. Obviously, it didn’t get that far. Unfortunately.
I think the actual, kind of, almost trial that we had wasn’t handled very well. We weren’t as united as a front as I would like and that also comes with, ‘oh, they were kind of trying to keep the reasonings and the everything kind of on the down low.’ They weren’t trying to make this huge like out there. Yeah, they had people on like GUIDE post, I don’t know who posted it, but like GUIDE NKU posted to come out to the SGA meeting, and a few other places did. But nobody really knew exactly what was going to go on. I didn’t even read the petition until earlier that morning. Actually, I never even really read the petition. I just like had a conversation with someone earlier that morning about it. I personally think there are a lot of people in SGA, that if we did have a conversation about the petition, outside of just that moment, it would have been handled better. And we also had a few times administration came in and like, like, corrected how we were acting? I’m not sure that was there place. I’m not sure. Like this administration was kind of letting this slide. And so for them to come in, and like, tell us, ‘no, you have to follow proper procedure.’ And yeah, there is a procedure. And yeah, we were trying our best, but at the same time, we are a bunch of angry students. Some people were angry about the whole petition even being a thing. Some people were angry at Goodwin, for example: me. And, also, just the idea, that administration came in and told us how we were supposed to run this impeachment—when the administration isn’t really even handling the white supremacists like on campus—seemed a little out of place, in my opinion. It helped a little bit, but then again, I was like, ‘Guys, this is our time to have a conversation. Not with you, but with Goodwin.'”
TN: What is your experience with learning about the impeachment process? Were you properly taught the correct procedures for when something like this happens?
Carter: “Absolutely not. They throw you in. They hold you back for, like, two meetings for, like, 15 minutes to briefly explain what goes on. But they don’t—you don’t know the constitution? You don’t know what abilities you have as a senator. When I came in, I thought I had a bigger part to play than I did. I’m gonna be honest, like I thought it was going to be able to do more than I would be able to do. So no. Short answer: no. Long answer: they didn’t even try. Like, long answer, they hold you back for two, like 15 minutes sessions, try to explain it. And mostly it’s, they put more emphasis on what you wear to SGA, than to what you do in SGA and the things that you are capable of—to kind of put that in perspective. There were senators reading the Constitution late at night. And these are people who’ve been there for like years, reading through the constitution late into the night, days before this happened, to try and figure out what the hell they were doing.
And I mean, it goes beyond that, too. If you read the Constitution, it’s vague. You have no idea what’s going on when you read the Constitution. And it’s not put in a way that the common person can understand. If you read the part of the Constitution about the impeachment, it gives, kind of, one of the things that we brought up? They’re just examples given? Like, it’s not telling you what actually is valid as in grounds for impeachment. I think one of the big struggles that happened when we were going to impeach her at the SGA meeting is that there’s no given structure to, like, how to run an impeachment proceeding. And honestly, that plays in the administration’s favor. That completely plays in their favorite. The fact that we have no idea what we’re doing, that we can’t be organized because there is no organization. From what I’ve heard, there have been impeachment, like people have tried to impeach prior administrations before. Like, this isn’t the first time this has happened. I think one was like, in 2008, or 2009. But because we don’t have those kind of like ground rules, what are we supposed to do? And they call us unorganized. They call us, ‘oh, nobody really knows what they’re doing.’ Because we were given no rules. In SGA, you’re thrown into a pot, and then you’re boiled. And things just keep getting thrown in. And you know, it sucks. A lot of people have left SGA because of that. There is no diversity. You don’t know the Constitution. You don’t know what you can do. If there is a bad administration, you don’t know how to approach impeachment. You don’t know how to do anything. And you’re just thrown in there and told ‘this is how you dress. Congratulations. Join a committee.’ That’s it.”
TN: Do you think it’s a conflict of interest that President Goodwin is dating Chief Justice Cleary?
Carter: “I know plenty of people who could be in that position that are dating, like be a president and hold those positions and be fine. I’m not sure, in this situation, it was fine. They’re a lovely couple. Great. Maybe, since you guys like each other enough, it would even be better for him to step down from that position. I’m not sure, at least in this, he would have a fair look at it. Everybody has their biases. That’s something that you just—you can’t ignore. Everybody’s gonna have them. But when you are dating a president going through a impeachment, and you are going to have a say in whether this is constitutional or not, I mean, what are you going to do? You’re going to say it’s unconstitutional. I mean, I don’t know how old he is. But like, imagine being 20-something and then your girlfriend, it seems like she’s having these personal attacks. What are you going to do? Like, you’re going to stand up for her? I mean, like, that’s the bottom line. And, you know, that’s like what it takes to be in a relationship—is to look out for each other like that. And so I mean, I can’t say he would be unbiased in that situation … Before I would say maybe, maybe not. At this point, I’d probably just say, No. He’s not going to be an unbiased source of judgment.”