USG Senator accused of forging signatures

Students unaware of own names on Turning Point USA proposal

Written By Amanda Andrews, Co-News Editor

An impeachment trial is slated for United Student Government (USG) Senator Mathew Johnson for next week’s meeting.

Johnson is accused of forging an unknown number of student sign-up signatures on a club application form. The club, Turning Point USA, was unanimously rejected by USG on Nov. 13. 

The official charge against Johnson is a “Breach of the United Student Government Code of Ethics: Forging an Unknowing Student’s Signature on the Application of the Club Turning Point USA.” 

Johnson said the first he had heard any news of the impeachment charges was in Monday’s meeting. 

“I’m a little bit in shock, honestly. I don’t even know what to think,” Johnson said. “I’m a little bit hurt by it, but I mean I guess I could expect it to be coming, especially from who it came from.” 

Senator Bryce Hayzlett brought the charge against Johnson at Monday’s legislative body meeting. Hayzlett had previously mounted a notable objection to Turning Point USA being accepted by USG with two pages worth of research to back his claims.  

“I don’t want this to be seen as an attack due to him trying to start Turning Point,” Hayzlett said. “Because I am afraid that that’s how it’s going to come off, but it’s not at all [that]. It’s the fact that these people did not give consent and yet were still put on the application.” 

Hayzlett said he discovered Johnson’s alleged misconduct after discussing the club with a few people listed on the application. 

“I was on the Rules Committee when we approved Turning Point to be proposed here [at USG],” Hayzlett said. “And, whenever you have the application, they have to have a list of 10 students that want to be a part of this club as proof that they have members. And I went down it and I noticed one of the emails, and this was after [Turning Point] got shot down,…and I mentioned Turning Point to this person and they had no idea what it was.” 

Senator Dennis McDermott seconded Hayzlett’s motion to impeach, which set the trial process in motion. 

“I have thoughts about that,” Johnson said. “I mean, just because someone seconded something doesn’t really mean that they support it either way. It could just be them trying to say ‘oh let’s look into this.’ I mean that’s kind of like…the impeachment hearing for Trump is going on right now. Like a lot of people support it, not because they want to impeach Trump, but because they want the information that’s going to be gained from the investigation.” 

Johnson said that he got a name of another student from fellow conservative student, Logan Dubil, but that he was solely responsible for gathering the signatures on the application. 

When asked about how confident he felt about the upcoming trial, Johnson was unsure. 

“I mean if I’m being honest, not very,” Johnson said. “I don’t feel like with the history that has started with this semester, I feel as if I will not be found innocent just because of different confrontational topics I’ve brought up. I mean, I feel like I’m being looked at as I’m just this horrible, bad person, and I’m not.” 

Johnson also felt that it was unfair that no one brought the impeachment charges to his attention before the meeting. During the legislative body meeting, an unknown USG member brought a censure charge against Vice President Alexa Lake for not sending meeting agendas on-time. The censure charge was criticized by senators as petty and unprofessional, partially because whoever submitted it did not speak to her about it beforehand.

“I mean they all just kind of laughed at that, about censuring her. But then here they are not even censuring me, [but] impeaching me, which is a whole new level,” Johnson said. “I don’t even know the last time someone was impeached in USG.” 

“I don’t feel like anybody should have to tell him that is a bad thing to put people’s signatures down on a very controversial club,” Hayzlett said. “He shouldn’t need to be informed that is bad. And this was not going to turn into a little ‘slap on the wrists don’t do it again’ kind of thing.” 

Hayzlett said that he discussed motioning for impeachment against Johnson with multiple senators and the executive cabinet. All of the senators he spoke with were in agreement about moving forward with impeachment. 

Two-thirds of senators will need to be present for impeachment proceedings to begin. According to Hayzlett, it was originally supposed to begin Nov. 18, but a lack of attendance pushed back Hayzlett’s plans to bring up the impeachment charge. 

“This was not supposed to be right at the end of the semester. It was supposed to be at the last meeting, but then barely anyone showed up,” Hayzlett said. “And he [Johnson] didn’t even show up until the end, and I didn’t want to do it without him there because I thought that would have been disrespectful.” 

Vice President Alexa Lake said that she would be impartial during the impeachment proceedings next week. 

“I don’t have any thoughts on it. Obviously, the investigation has to be conducted by the Parliamentarian. And I think in the same way that we had a censure that passed, two censures that didn’t this semester…we just have to see what sticks. And we’ll have to wait until the meeting to see whether or not the legislature decides that it’s significant or not,” Lake said. “But during the whole process, I can’t treat it as anything. My personal opinion doesn’t matter. I won’t be chairing it. It’s the President Pro-Tempore’s job to do that in the constitution.”