Opinion: Folan's impeachment has no grounds

While Folan may be an imperfect leader, he does not deserve to be impeached as a result of his actions.

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Student Body President Brent Folan is facing the threat of impeachment from the SGA House of Representatives. 

While Folan may be an imperfect leader, he does not deserve to be impeached as a result of his actions. 

In response to the proceedings, Folan has attempted to clarify the actions that landed him in hot water. 

“When we started working on our student government budget, we found out very early that we were not going to have to pay for the [Blake Shelton] concert,” Folan said. “So my thought process was: let’s do a couple of big projects that will leave a lasting impression on the campus.”

Folan said the idea of commissioning a statue came from Kim Turner, assistant director of student activities. Turner showed him a similar statue that Oklahoma State University has on their campus of their own mascot.

Folan then proposed the idea to the SGA Cabinet on April 2. During the next week's Cabinet meeting on April 9, Folan presented the final plans. 

After discussing price estimates and reviewing sketches, Folan said the Cabinet took a vote to approve the statue. 

The current controversy centers around whether the Cabinet actually took a vote on the project or not. 

Four members of the Cabinet have submitted statements saying that they remember a vote taking place at the meeting.

While none of the Cabinet members have explicitly claimed that there was no vote at all, Joshua Simpson, current vice president for operations and Folan's opponent in the upcoming election for student body president, said he does not recall whether a vote took place or not.

Without evidence that a vote did not occur, representatives presenting the case against Folan cannot prove that a rule was broken. 

Normally the House of Representatives would vote on such a large spending project. Folan said he opted for a Cabinet vote in an effort to make the unveiling of the statue a surprise.

Folan said that the SGA Constitution states, “SBC title 6, chapter 6, subsection 603 says  ‘all requests for inbudget funds shall be approved by the Cabinet or by the House of Representatives as a whole.”

The large price tag has alarmed some students. However, when the total cost is divided among the student body, it amounts to around $6 per student, Folan noted. 

According to Folan, numerous members of the administration approved the statue before construction began. 

Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Chris del Conte, Chancellor Victor Boschini, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Kathy Cavins-Tull, Executive Director of Community Projects Margaret Kelly and Chancellor's Associate for External Relations Ann Louden all signed off on the project, Folan said.

Folan said the controversy over the process has been a “good learning experience” for him but that he hoped the statue will serve as a must-visit location for young alumni, visitors, and students. 

“People with the tour will take pictures with it- it will show up in a ton of photos,” Folan said. 

Alumnus Charlie Thompson and his wife have already had their picture taken with the statue. 

Thompson was the student body president in 1970-1971 when Frog Fountain was built. 

As with the bronze SuperFrog statue, Thompson recalled that there was controversy over the installation of Frog Fountain. During his term as student body president, Thompson said he also faced threats of impeachment. 

“If you’re not facing a threat of impeachment as student body president, you’re probably not doing as much as you could,” Thompson said. 

Folan said the statue represents what has been a “historic SuperFrog.” Present for the opening of the Brown-Lupton University Union and athletic events such as the NCAA College World Series, the Rose Bowl and the university's entrance into the Big 12 Conference, SuperFrog represents a significant period in the university's history, Folan said. 

“When I was sworn in as president, I promised to uphold the Constitution, and I have done that my whole term,” Folan said. 

And Folan is correct.

Absent of any proof that he acted contrary to the SGA Constitution, impeachment proceedings seem excessive. 

Folan is susceptible to the accusation that he was not transparent enough or too informal in keeping meeting minutes and vote records, but he should not be impeached.

In today's digital world, a public record of an impeachment could follow Folan for years to come, so students must evaluate their actions in this matter seriously. 

Due to the absence of any gross misconduct by Folan, impeaching him would be an injustice against a student who cares deeply about this university and his fellow Horned Frogs. During four years of rapid growth for the university, he has implemented numerous programs to benefit the student body, such as the return of the student tailgate, bringing zipcars to campus and having ice dispensers installed in new dorms. 

Folan said his experience in student government has helped him “grow as a leader,” and asked that students continue to allow him to grow as the leader of the university student body. 

We should realize the imperfections of the man, but also acknowledge his “unyielding dedication” to uphold the ideals of the university and the SGA Constitution. 

Alex Apple is a junior political science and journalism major from Nashville, Tenn. and is a reporter for TCU 360. 

 

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