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Student Union moves to impeach senator

On Sunday, Nov. 6 at the weekly Senate meeting, the Student Union heard the proceedings for a motion to impeach Senator Zachary Moskovits ’26. The articles of impeachment were put forward by Nicholas Kanan ’23, after an incident that occurred with three students and Moskovits on Oct. 26.

Kanan highlighted four violations of the Student Union Code of Conduct in subsections of Article XI, Section 1 of the Student Union Bylaws, during the opening argument. According to Kanan, the allegations made of Moskovits questioned “the integrity of the student union.” 

On the night of Oct. 26, Moskovits and Ryan Gaughan—who had been running for a position in the special elections—were reported to have approached the three complainants regarding voting in the Student Union election near the benches outside the upper entrance of Sherman Dining Hall. The complainants described Moskovits as “pushy and mean” making them feel “uncomfortable and intimidated.” According to the complaint report, Moskovits pressured the students to vote in the Student Union election and went so far as to take the complainants’ phones and vote on their behalf. The three complaints all agreed with confidence that Moskovits tapped on the phone while they were voting. Kanan described this act as Moskovits not maintaining respect for the students and making them vote under supervision. 

By doing this, Kanan argued that Moskovits expressed a “reckless disregard for [Student Union] ethical conduct.” Remaining silent about these allegations, Kanan said, would mean the Student Union was complicit in the events that occurred. Kanan ended his opening statement by saying Moskovits’ “ends do not justify the means.” 

Moskovits was then able to give his statement in response in front of the senators. He asked that before he share his side of the story that all senators remain open minded and let the constitution guide the vote, not their opinion of him. “Let your minds be guided by the lights of reason,” Moskovits advised his peers, apparently in reference to Louis D. Brandeis.

The main argument Moskovits made was that the complaint was not written by the three students whom he had encountered. Rather the complaint was drafted by Vincent Calia-Bogan who wrote on behalf of the complainants and then signed off on what he had written. Moskovits claimed the report was “hearsay by an unrelated author.” 

In his account of the interaction, Moskovits described the interaction as “light chit-chat” not campaigning. From his judgement, he believed the students were willing to engage since he gave them multiple opportunities to tell him to “fuck off.” Moskovits noted that his enthusiasm could have been misconstrued as overpowering, but he never swayed the students away from reading the candidate bios before making the decision to vote. Moskovits also made note that he never explicitly told the students who to vote for, but rather just encouraged them to vote in the election. Moskovits was not running in that special round of elections, but his companion who was also present at the event—Gaughan—was running and would benefit if the students were to vote for him. 

Gaughan provided a witness testimony during the meeting that contradicted the complainants’ claims that Moskovits was “rude” or “pushy.” Gaughan noted that from his recollection they provided a space where the students could remove themselves from the situation and that they “continued to present a feigned interest” in the conversation. 

“He did not attempt any form of ‘coercion,’ hostility or general ‘push[iness],’” according to Gaughan’s statement. 

It should be noted that in the complainant report, it notes that the students thought Gaughan was “pretty nice” and did not equate him to having the same attitude as Moskovits in the interaction. 

After both parties gave their side of the situation, the senators were allowed to then question both parties on their interpretations. One senator asked Kanan how Moskovits misrepresented the truth in the interaction. Kanan responded saying that by taking agency away from the students in voting it misrepresented the truth of a free and fair election. Kanan went on to say that Moskovits had another interest in getting the students to vote due to his personal connection to Gaughan and wanting to see him win. 

One senator raised the question of impact versus intent and whether Moskovits’ intent had varied from his impact on the students he interacted with. Kanan stated during the questioning that this was not the first instance that caused concern. Other concerns had occurred earlier in the semester but had not been serious enough to warrant a push for impeachment. Kanan mentioned “unprofessional conduct” and lacking communication during Moskovits’ conversations with the Department of Community Living (DCL) when trying to reopen Shapiro Lounge for students. Moskovits responded saying he was sorry for not looping other members of the Senate in on his communications with DCL but the department did thank him for his way of handling the situation. 

Kanan brought up in his closing statement that he did not take this action lightly. He believes that Moskovits does good work but this instance was a “violation of [the Student Union’s] constitution” and could therefore not be ignored. 

In his closing argument, Moskovits asked his peers whether the incident was worth motioning for the most severe action that could be taken on him. Moskovits also argued that by going through the motions for impeachment it took away from time where they could be doing productive work. 

The student union voted by roll call with 15 voting yes for impeachment, one voting no and two voting to abstain. Tako Mikhelashvili ’26 voted against impeachment and Tyler Hupart ’26 and Zev Carlyle ’24 both abstained from the vote. Moskovits’ impeachment trial will now proceed forward past the Senate and to the larger Student Union body. 

Editor’s Note: Vincent Calia-Bogan did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

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