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Senate Rules and Procedures chairman removed after vying for top Senate spot

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Jordan Ballinger, the Student Senate government affairs commissioner, was removed from his post as chairman of the Rules and Procedures Committee after allegedly trying to persuade President Anna Morton to remain vice president in the wake of former President Nick Southall’s resignation. According to Morton, Ballinger had tried to bypass her and ascend to the presidency himself.

Morton claims that on Christmas Eve, Ballinger contacted her and complimented Morton on her service during the fall semester, telling her, “You have been such a great vice president, you have really held the body together.” Ballinger then urged her to remain as vice president for the sake of continuity, and that he intended to take over as the new Senate president.

At the beginning of this week, Ballinger was told by Morton that he would no longer be serving as the chairman of Senate’s Rules and Procedures Committee. Morton has since stated that his removal was due to his attempt to bypass her for Southall’s position, as well as his other senate duties, and his plans to run for Senate president in this spring’s election.

Ballinger’s ticket is registered as “ONE for OU” and includes Senate members Alex George and Carter Phillips as candidates for vice president and treasurer, respectively.

Ballinger disputes Morton’s claims, saying that he never intended to run for an executive position while still holding an executive position.

“I’m not quite sure where this rumor started,” Ballinger said. “I’m perfectly comfortable being government affairs commissioner.”

Ballinger went on to say that if his removal was because of his campaign for president, his duties as government affairs commissioner, or the alleged attempt to bypass Morton, then Morton has violated the rules and procedures of Senate.

Morton has announced that at tonight’s Student Senate meeting, she will push for a change to the rules and procedures to allow for any Ohio University student to be nominated to fill her former seat as vice president.

“I made the decision and am pushing for it because I think our body needs to make the change to be completely transparent and open to all students,” Morton said. “Student Senate is the voice for students and we should not limit who wants their voice heard.”

Morton became Senate’s de facto president after Southall was arrested in St. Petersburg, Fla., on charges of disorderly intoxication. He resigned on Christmas Eve, the day Ballinger contacted Morton about remaining vice president.

Ballinger said he was sharing a hotel room with Southall the night the former president was arrested. According to Ballinger, he and others urged Southall to stay in the hotel room, at which point Southall became aggressive, smashed a bottle of whiskey on the floor and departed.

 

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