USG Sen. Tim Sullivan resigns amid impeachment trial

CLAS Sen. Tim Sullivan looks on during an Undergraduate Student Government during an abortion debate hosted by the UConn College Republicans on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. Sullivan resigned Wednesday after allegedly attempting to buy the support of an Undergraduate Student Government justice. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Sen. Tim Sullivan has resigned from his position in the Undergraduate Student Government Senate before facing an impeachment trial at Wednesday’s meeting for attempting to influence a member of the Judiciary.

The CLAS senator was impeached under accusations of trying to influence Associate Justice Mark Zebrowski to vote not to hear the case against McMahon Sen. Stephanie Sponzo for violations of presidential campaign rules. This occurred in conjunction with an additional member being appointed to the Judiciary against the USG Constitution, thus necessitating the removal of one justice.

The official grievance document said Sullivan approached Zebrowski and asked how the justice would vote in the impending campaign violation case. According to the document, Sullivan then allegedly said he would vote for Zebrowski to retain his position on the Judiciary if the justice were to vote not to hear the case.

No vote has yet been cast to remove a justice. Sponzo was given two campaign violations as a result of the violation case and was suspended from campaigning for the first three days of the voting period.

Sullivan was impeached on Feb. 25 and the next several sessions of regularly scheduled USG Senate and special Senates were devoted to establishing impeachment trial procedures, which were established prior to the case.

Sullivan had originally voiced concerns in an earlier interview about how he was being represented throughout the impeachment procedure. Chief Justice Tyler Ryff said the guidelines approved at Wednesday’s Senate enacted rules to ensure all parties are fairly represented.

USG decided Wednesday to suspend the trial, meaning Sullivan will still be eligible to run for a Senate seat next semester, since he was not removed from the position by a vote. An amendment to the bylaws that was passed earlier this month states that if a senator is found guilty by the Senate, they automatically move to vote to ban the accused from further USG positions.

Speaker of the Senate, Colin Ng, said Sullivan did not make his intentions for his future in USG clear in his resignation letter, but he hopes the former senator remains active in the student services committee, where he still holds a position.

Eliza Conrad, student services chair, said he is still an active and vital member of the committee and will still have his seat next semester.

“Depending on how Senate votes tonight, then technically speaking, he can run again in the fall. Were we to have the impeachment trial and Senate voted to impeach him, they could take a subsequent vote to ban him,” Ryff said.

Because of the long process in approving the procedures for an impeachment trial, Ryff thought many senators lost interest in the trial.

“I think because it took so long from when Judiciary sent it over to Senate, which is longer than it should have taken place, a lot of senators sort of lost their momentum in dealing with the issue and it sort of became an inconsequential thing,” Ryff said. “It being the third to last senate, a lot of senators figured it wasn’t worth the trouble.”

He said this extended time discussing impeachment regulations was not wasted and if any impeachment trials are brought forward in the future, they will be handled much differently.

“The impeachment procedures that George Wang drew up are very important to have on file,” Ryff said. “I’m sorry to say I took us until all this happened to get it on file and now the next time, should there be another impeachment case brought to the judiciary, there will be a system in place to deal with it right away.”

Sullivan could not be reached for comment.

Ng said that USG will probably “feel the effects in the coming month” of delaying other legislation to outline impeachment regulations.

“Honestly, it took this long because there was no precedent set before,” Ng said. “In the future I’m sure the organization will be much more vigilant.”


Nicholas Shigo is associate news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at nicholas.shigo@uconn.edu.