[Marxism] Why We’re Impeaching Our Student Body President Over Trump Jr.
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 21 17:10:12 MST 2019
NY Times Op-Ed, Nov. 21, 2019
Why We’re Impeaching Our Student Body President Over Trump Jr.
The president’s son spoke at the University of Florida for a $50,000
fee. We dug deeper.
By Zachariah Chou
(Mr. Chou is a senator in the student government at the University of
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — On Oct. 10, Donald Trump Jr. and the former Fox News
host Kimberly Guilfoyle gave a speech at the University of Florida for
$50,000 at the invitation of our student body president, Michael Murphy.
Students protested, and normally that would have been the end of the story.
Instead, last week, a group of other student body senators and I
initiated impeachment proceedings against Mr. Murphy over what we feel
is a gross abuse of his power. In the resulting days, our campus drama
has become national news, and Mr. Murphy has become a conservative martyr.
For many of his supporters, this is simply another story of campus
leftists gone berserk and threatening free speech. In fact, it’s a much
more complicated story, one that throws into question the use of public
funds for partisan ends.
Michael Murphy has posted photos of himself on social media at President
Trump’s inauguration and with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in the
White House. He is the son of Dan Murphy, who works for the lobbying
firm BGR Group. Dan Murphy maxed out donations to President Trump’s 2020
campaign, and is a known associate of Donald Trump Jr. The $50,000 that
paid for the speaking fee came from mandatory student fees.
In response to our impeachment inquiry, the student body president hired
Daniel Nordby — the one-time general counsel of the former Florida
governor and current senator Rick Scott — as his attorney. Mr. Scott
called Mr. Murphy’s pending impeachment “shameful.” On Nov. 14 the
Florida Republican Party publicized a page on its website where
supporters can add their name to support Mr. Murphy (and, one click
below that, “contribute to keep America great”). That same day, Donald
Trump Jr. tweeted colorful language about the Murphy impeachment inquiry
and added, “Enough of this nonsense.”
After the Oct. 10 event, a University of Florida alumna, Mariana Castro,
submitted a public records request for all emails to and from Mr. Murphy
concerning the invitation of the president’s son to campus. Her request
returned an email thread from Caroline Wren, a veteran Republican
fund-raiser. Ms. Wren works as a financial consultant for the Trump
Victory Committee, a joint entity between the Trump 2020 re-election
campaign and the Republican National Committee.
On Sept. 11, Ms. Wren sent an email to Mr. Murphy referring to a Fourth
of July meeting with him at her house. She added that she “would like to
bring Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle and R.N.C. co-chairman Tommy
Hicks to the University of Florida.”
When our local paper, The Independent Florida Alligator, called Ms. Wren
for comment on Oct. 30, she first stated that she didn’t know who Mr.
Murphy was — which for sure doesn’t raise any eyebrows at all. Ms. Wren
later responded via email to The Alligator, acknowledging that she and
Mr. Murphy met over the summer. She insisted she had been acting in her
personal capacity and that she “mistakenly forgot to remove my Trump
Many people saw these emails as the smoking gun, as proof that Mr.
Murphy had colluded with the Trump campaign to funnel student fees
toward a partisan cause.
The emails were the final straw for me and my colleagues in the Student
On Nov. 12, we filed an impeachment resolution against our student body
president for using student fees to advance his own expressed political
beliefs and for violating our governing laws (specifically 808.12, Part
5) that forbid student government funds from being used to support a
And that was supposed to be it. Naturally, The Alligator reported on it.
Then the Tampa Bay Times. The story continued to gather momentum,
bolstered by the striking similarity to what is going on at the federal
Conservative commentators have glanced in our direction and bemoaned the
death of free speech on college campuses. The Florida Federation of
College Republicans lamented that our student government has used “funds
for years to promote liberal speakers.”
Reality doesn’t quite match up with the assertions of those who claim to
be persecuted; as I’ve written previously, the vast majority of the
political speakers that our student government has brought in and paid
for in the last three years are conservative. On the conservative side,
the former Ohio governor John Kasich came to campus in January; the
former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and political
commentator Ben Shapiro spoke in 2017. On the liberal side, we held
events with Kal Penn, associate director in the White House Office of
Public Engagement in the Obama administration, and the comedian Chelsea
Handler in 2017.
For the record, we do not try to impeach our student body president
after every conservative speaking event on campus. Since the University
of Florida opened its doors in Gainesville in 1906, there has been only
one other impeachment inquiry into a student body president; in 2009,
Kevin Reilly was investigated over various concerns, including
violations of the Florida Sunshine Law and conspiring to keep
minority-party senators out of committee seats. He was ultimately not
impeached and, interestingly enough, eventually went on to work in
Governor Scott’s administration.
The Florida Republican Party seems to think that the impeachment inquiry
is solely about inviting a member of the Trump family to campus, but
that is not the case. My fellow senators and I have no qualms with free
speech. This is an issue of conflicts of interest and fiscal
responsibility, revolving around how $50,000 in mandatory student fees
ended up going down the drain, in the direction of the swamp.
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