The student senate at Clemson University voted to impeach their vice president after he refused to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jaren Stewart, who is Black, sat through the pledge along with several other students in protest of racial inequality in the United States on Sept. 25.
On Monday, Student Senator Miller Hoffman introduced the resolution to impeach Stewart, and the measure was passed by a vote of 40-18. Hoffman denied that the resolution was motivated by Stewart’s race or by his protest during the pledge, insisting that the impetus was a leaked document that alleged misconduct by Stewart.
The vote was held while Stewart was out of town and could not defend himself. Now, there will be a closed-door impeachment trial, where Stewart will be allowed to defend himself as the student government determines whether or not he should be removed from office. Any student government official who speaks about the closed-door trial will also be subject to impeachment.
It’s worth noting that 83 percent of the Clemson student body is white, and 7 percent is African-American.