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SGA Administrative Vice President Salvador León censured, no further disciplinary action

SGA+Administrative+Vice+President+Salvador+Le%C3%B3n%2C+right%2C+shakes+hands+with+Student+Body+President+Sam+Kurtz+after+Le%C3%B3n+was+censured+during+a+hearing+in+the+Downing+Student+Union+on+Wednesday%2C+Feb.+7.+
Dominic Di Palermo
SGA Administrative Vice President Salvador León, right, shakes hands with Student Body President Sam Kurtz after León was censured during a hearing in the Downing Student Union on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:35 p.m. for clarity.

The SGA judicial council unanimously voted for the censure of Administrative Vice President Salvador León during a Wednesday, Feb. 7 censure hearing.

The hearing was announced Tuesday, Feb. 6 during SGA’s weekly meeting.

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Speaker of the House Sydney Denney, established the hearing’s intention was not for the executive cabinet to negatively speak on León’s character, but rather to “hold him accountable for his wrongdoings in his duties as Administrative Vice President.”

Denney presented three allegations against León from the executive cabinet, the first being premature spending out of the executive project and legislative discretionary budgets before Bill 22-23-S: Funding for the Neurodiversity Acceptance Week passed in the senate.

The spending included a $425.25 deposit to reserve the Preston Center, split between the executive project and legislative discretionary budgets.

The deposit was due Thursday, Feb. 1. León did not present the bill to the senate until Tuesday, Feb. 6.

A $350 pizza order was additionally planned to be spent from the executive project budget but was omitted and changed to personal funds after the censure hearing was filed.

According to Denney, León’s actions break clause 2.5.3 of the SGA Constitution, which states the AVP is to expend funds as authorized by the senate.

The second allegation presented was that León asked Public Relations Director Preston Romanov to promote Neurodiversity Acceptance Week events before the bill passed. 

A graphic promoting “SGA Special Olympics” for “Neurodiversity Acceptance Week” was posted on SGA’s Instagram account, @wkusga, on Feb. 3.

The third and final allegation is that León forced the senate to approve Bill 22-23-S. 

Evidence was presented from Tuesday’s meeting minutes from senators stating they felt they had been stripped of their right to choose if the bill passed since funds were spent and advertising was posted for the event.

“The executive cabinet would like to reassure each and every one of you that our main goal is to do what is best for WKU and the student body now and moving forward,” Denney said.

AVP León additionally presented three allegations against the executive board, the first being text messages between Student Body President Sam Kurtz and himself he alleged showed acceptance from Kurtz to spend the funds before the bill passed.

These included Kurtz “liking” and saying “sweet” and “bet sounds good” to messages León sent regarding expenditures. 

León said Kurtz did not ask for any clarification regarding spending until Monday, Feb. 5, leading him to believe he had received clear permission from Kurtz.

The second allegation presented was that members of the executive board congratulated Romanov on the event graphic through text messages and likes on the post itself.

Evidence was shown of texts sent from senate members in a group chat expressing their positive opinions of the design of the graphic and the “likes” on the Instagram post, showing which senate members had “liked” the post.

The third and final allegation is that León informed the senate they did not need to vote to approve Bill 22-23-S during Tuesday’s meeting. 

León said this was due to external sponsors that could cover half of the legislative discretionary budget portion if the bill did not pass the senate.

“I was doing my job. I was paying a fee,” León said in his closing. “I am disappointed that this has been taken in the wrong context.”

The SGA judicial council questions Administrative Vice President Salvador León during a censure hearing against León at the Downing Student Union on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Dominic Di Palermo)

During a period of questioning, León said he did not ever contact Executive Vice President Annie Finch for approval to spend the executive project funds.

León also said that only the funds from the executive project funds were supposed to be spent before passing Bill 22-23-S, but Director of Student Activities Charley Pride also charged the legislative discretionary budget account.

Kurtz said he asked León “multiple times” not to spend any funds for the event before the bill passed.

The judicial council voted 6-0 to censure León, recommending no further disciplinary action beyond the censure, and encouraged SGA members to use the situation as a “learning experience.”

Kurtz said he felt the duty to report the situation to the judicial council to provide “full transparency” to everyone within SGA and plans to manage things within SGA more closely.

León said in the case of any similar situations in the future, he hopes “better communication” will occur.

“Communication is always important,” León said. “We’re going to be a better team moving forward.”

 

Assistant News Editor Ali Costellow can be reached at [email protected]

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