Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

    SGA President asks two justices to resign

    The Student Government Association president asked two court justices to resign from their positions because she believes they are members of 1540, a secret society at Loyola.

    SGA President and marketing junior, Sarah Cooper, asked finance senior Blake Gable and mass communication senior Brian Dirden, to resign.

    In April of 2009, when Cooper had to decide who would be on the court, former SGA President Cade Cypriano, A’09, and Cooper approached both justices and asked for their resignations.

    Cypriano was certain of their membership and said Chris Cameron, the former director of co-curricular activities who no longer works at Loyola, and Marcia “Cissy” Petty, vice president for student affairs and associate provost, both confirmed their memberships.

    “Their denial was cause for concern because their membership had already been confirmed by an anonymous source and then confirmed through the administration,” he said. “The fact that they were dishonest and not forthright with their membership led to concerns of their ability to serve effectively in positions that require the utmost respect and transparency.”

    Dirden resigned saying he would not have time to perform his duties as a justice. He said he was not a member of 1540.

    “I don’t even know if 1540 exists,” he said. “However, I was approached by Cade Cypriano and Sarah Cooper for me to resign as a justice because of allegations of me being a part of 1540.”

    Gable, who has not resigned, declined to comment.

    Cooper said of Gable’s decision not to resign, “When it comes to the board, it’s all about consensus, and he has no pull.” She added the other justices will not agree with him.

    Cooper said she believes the two justices are part of 1540, which is illegal on Loyola’s campus due to its lack of charter review.

    “We asked them to confess to it,” she said. “But, they both kept saying that they had no idea what I was talking about.”

    Cooper said this denial on their part upset her because she thought they were going against what it means to be a justice.

    “It was really frustrating because as a justice you are supposed to uphold the constitution and they are a part of an organization that is not really an organization and they meet on campus and they have initiation on campus,” she said. “In the end they are being unfair to those organizations that have to go through charter review and those who lose their charter.”

    Cooper spoke with Cameron. Cooper said that Cameron told her he founded this organization in 1998 with the purpose to support and promote Jesuit values by incorporating student leaders from different organizations on campus.

    “He said that they do good things for people on campus,” Cooper said. She elaborated that Cameron told her of a time when they bought a plane ticket for a student who could not afford one, so the student could see their family.

    Cameron, however, declined to comment about 1540.
    Chief Justice and management junior Andrew Austermann said the court is looking into these two cases to see what will be done.

    “We are going to take care of that within our group, whatever the president and myself decide before anything official comes out,” he said. “I think it’s inappropriate to comment on the entire situation until it has been resolved either one way or another.”

    He added the decision will be based on what the constitution says. Austermann has not spoken to Gable about this issue, but said that he will as this process moves along.

    Former student government presidents Cypriano and Elliot Sanchez, A’08, said they also believe this organization should cease to exist.

    “My problem is that they pick off student leaders to join 1540 and then they no longer act independently,” Cypriano said.

    Sanchez said he believes this organization should be chartered so it follows the same rules as the other legitimate school organizations.

    “Organizations should fall under the system we have set up to ensure fair student body governance,” he said.

    Cooper, Cypriano and Sanchez all agree that being a member 1540 and a justice of SGA represents a conflict of interest, and members of 1540 should be removed from the court.

    “I see there’s a conflict with student governance where students are entrusted to look out for their own interest and the interest of the university,” Sanchez said.

    Cypriano added that most in SGA see a dual membership in student government and 1540 as a conflict of interest.

    “Those concerns were rooted in recurring allegations of election interference and a possible concern in judicial and legislative processes at the highest level of student government,” he said. “I was made aware of prior instances in which members of 1540 exhibited a degree of bias.”

    During Cypriano’s administration, he with Chief Justice Sarah Melton and Vice President Ashley Shabankareh, established that SGA members cannot be a part of 1540 simultaneously.

    “We established a precedent  of eliminating the presence of 1540 from SGA, because it was our view that 1540 members were in clear violation of an SGA constitutional clause that prohibited unchartered organizations, ignoring the student body’s demand for a trustworthy and transparent representative body,” Cypriano said.

    According to Cypriano, Cameron was forced to admit to his role as leader of this organization, when he was confronted about conflicts in elections and court decisions.

    “He then agreed with our decision to remove 1540 members from SGA,” he said.

    It would all be different if they were chartered, Cypriano said.

    “There wouldn’t be a problem with them if the entire student body was made aware of their dual membership and instances of bias or instances where a recusal of duty would be necessary would be addressed responsibly,” he said.

    Eduardo Gonzalez can be reached at [email protected]


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