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Student Union Judiciary rules for probation instead of impeachment

The Student Union Judiciary gave its formal opinion on Nov. 18 regarding the impeachment of Senator Zachary Moskovits ’26. The Judiciary ruled to not impeach Moskovits but to put him on a probationary period. 

The Judiciary opted to acquit Moskovits and not remove him from his seat as Massell Quad Senator because of the lack of evidence available to prove the events did not occur as Moskovits had described. According to the formal opinion, “In this case, we found that the totality of the evidence amounted to a scenario where the sole distinguishing factor between the likelihood of each side’s case was the word of their witnesses. In this way, both sides presented equally likely scenarios and the Petitioner did not prove that their version of events were more likely than not.”

In the opinion, the Judiciary notes that the situation—to their knowledge—is unprecedented. This is the first time a senator has been impeached but not removed from their seat in the Brandeis Student Union. The judiciary, in light of this, decided to create a new category distinction for Moskovits. The new category called “Probation” has been applied to Moskovits and puts him on a probationary status starting on Nov. 18 and lasting until March 1, 2023.

Moskovits spoke with The Brandeis Hoot regarding the decision and said, “The probationary period is not only fair, it reestablishes a sense of transparency that was lost during the impeachment proceedings. In no uncertain terms is the short probationary period a limiting factor in my work fighting for Massell Quad. It is simply a gesture of good faith between myself, the Judiciary and the rest of the Senate.” 

With this status distinction, Moskovits will have to work under certain conditions. The conditions include that while acting as a Student Union representative, he must be observed by a member of the Judiciary. The opinion noted that they do not “want to accompany [Moskovits] on his personal or private endeavors.” In addition, in his role in the Club Support and Sustainability committees, Moskovits must be watched by a member of the Judiciary.  

The Judiciary also must be informed of any actions Moskovits takes outside of committee or Senate meetings while using his platform as Massell Quad Senator. The opinion notes that Moskovits hosts town hall meetings in his quad, and they do not wish to deter from these interactions but instead make the Judiciary aware of when these initiatives are happening. 

“This should not serve as a deterrent to any activity. In fact, the Judiciary commends Senator Moskovits’ dedication to his quad and to the Union at large. This should not be read in a limiting capacity whatsoever. Senator Moskovits should feel free to take on initiatives, apply to be a committee chair, etc. It should just be under the Judiciary’s supervision,” reads the opinion. 

The Judiciary wrote that ​​if during the course of the probationary period Moskovits stays in good standing he will be allowed to keep his position. However, if “[Moskovits] continues to engage in activities which construe impropriety” then the Judiciary will request a new hearing to remove Moskovits from his position. 

“While we acknowledge that Senator Moskovits is an upstanding member of the Brandeis community with great passion for his positions, the Judiciary believes that in the alleged series of events, he lacked the foresight to predict how his actions may affect others,” reads the Judiciary opinion. 

The Judiciary explained that this ruling is meant as a “gesture of good faith.” The Judiciary wanted to emphasize that Moskovits has not gotten off “scot-free” but rather has a chance to redeem himself. 

The motion to impeach was brought up to the Senate on Nov. 6 by petitioner, Senator Nicholas Kannan ’23. Kannan had argued that Moskovits had acted with a “reckless disregard for [Student Union] ethical conduct.” Kannan had brought up a claim from three students where they claimed Moskovits had made them “uncomfortable and intimated” when discussing voting in Student Union elections. 

In response to the Judiciary’s opinion, The Hoot reached out to Kannan for comment on the ruling and he explained, “based on the cases as they were presented, that the Judiciary’s verdict was as I expected and completely warranted. Our justices are incredibly capable and qualified. They are all great at their jobs, and I stand with their decision.”

The Judiciary opinion was written by Chief Justice Noah Risley ’24 and Associate Justices Farishta Ali ’24, Alyssa Golden ’26, Maxwell Lerner ’23 and Zachary Miller ’24. 

 

 

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