After nearly three hours of debates and budget hearings, the University of Wisconsin Student Services Finance Committee voted to impeach Rep. Tyriek Mack Thursday.
Mack had previously faced impeachment from the Associated Students of Madison body as a whole the night before at a general meeting. He beat impeachment with a 20-1 vote, with the sole vote against him coming from Rep. Katrina Morrison.
Mack responded to Morrison’s vote against him through a Facebook post that would later become a point of debate during the Thursday SSFC meeting.
Both Morrison and ASM Chair Carmen Gosey appeared before SSFC to voice their distaste with Mack’s post.
“The post Rep. Mack made is despicable and further marginalizes black women,” Gosey said. “Black men do not recognize this toxic behavior, and they can’t see that [this type of behavior] upholds the patriarchy.”
Mack responded by asking Gosey about Morrison’s voting record on Black Lives Matter policies, particularly her silence on the UWPD weapons transparency bill.
While Gosey admitted Morrison did not vote in favor of that particular bill, she pointed to Morrison’s track record of spearheading the Our Wisconsin program, consistently showing up for meetings and “sitting down for meetings with white administrators” in defense of her commitment to ASM.
“It’s ridiculous and unacceptable that I have to be up here and defend my voting record and character,” Morrison said. “I’ve been accused of tokenizing a black man. I don’t have that power as a black person or a woman.”
Despite finding Mack’s post “problematic,” Rep. Miona Short said ASM’s political platform was not the place to discuss “one’s hurt feelings.”
Short said there are places other than ASM to discuss issues in the black community concerning black men and women.
Instead, Short recommended creating a space where the issue of the divide in the black community could be addressed.
“When you get on social media and discuss your feelings, be careful how it comes off,” Short said. “It’s fine to totally disagree with someone without touting one’s privilege and bringing one’s identity into question.”
Having only appeared for six meetings this semester, Mack’s attendance was called into question.
Several committee members, such as SSFC Chair Colin Barushok, found his unexcused absences unacceptable.
But Mack attributed his absences to personal issues.
The current political climate, particularly the election of Donald Trump, led to him stay at home and focus on his mental well-being. One missed meeting, he said, was directly related to his participation in the anti-Trump protest on campus.
Mack also mentioned how one of his friends had a “visceral” reaction to the election, and he was concerned for his mental health. Instead of going to one of the meetings, he decided to support his friend.
“I feel like if I’m removed from this position because I helped a friend in a time of need, I will feel bad,” Mack said. “But at the same time, I have no regrets. The wellness of my friend is directly linked to my own wellness.”
After hearing his testimony and back-and-forth debate, the committee voted to impeach Mack with a 8-1-4 vote.
The committee also voted to remove Rep. Natasha Thimmesh, citing her growing list of unexcused absences as grounds for impeachment. Thimmesh was not present to defend herself at the meeting.
Aside from the impeachments, the committee approved the budget of Badger Catholic, a Catholic student organization on campus. They did not make any adjustments to the original budget proposal.
Wunk Sheek, a Native American student organization whose membership was approved in early October, appeared before the committee to present their requested budget for the 2017-18 academic school year.
Wunk Sheek highlights community ties in SSFC meetingUniversity of Wisconsin’s Student Services Finance Committee Monday heard a presentation from Native American student organization Wunk Sheek that encouraged broader Read…
In total, Wunk Sheek’s budget requested $71,000 from SSFC. Approximately $49,000 will be allocated toward preserving spiritual and cultural customs of indigenous people and becoming a source of information for indigenous students.
SSFC will meet Monday to vote on Wunk Sheek’s budget.