By Hannah Neumann
Student Body President Dominic Edwards defended Internal Vice President Lawren Kinghorn Wednesday evening in the continuation of the McCahill, Hardy v. Kinghorn lawsuit.
Baylor senators Woodinville, Wash., senior Gannon McCahill and San Antonio junior Chase Hardy filed suit against Katy junior Lawren Kinghorn, alleging the defendant failed to maintain duties required of her as internal vice president.
Edwards was the second witness of the night and was asked if he felt Kinghorn had ever shown bias towards members of Student Senate.
“Her job is to help members of student government, particularly those in the Student Senate, move closer and closer to productivity and closer and closer to what our founders of student government wanted us to be,” Edwards said. “I think Lawren went above and beyond to reflect she was not bias.”
Edwards said he would quote one of his favorite fictitious character to describe the job of internal vice president.
“Clear the pipes and keep the sludge moving,” Edwards quoted, which was said by the character of Francis Underwood on the “House of Cards” television series.
With regard to absences, Edwards said it didn’t matter whether it was eight, 10 or 20 because any number over five should result in a senator being asked to resign, and so a re-vote after the clerical error was discovered was not necessary.
When McCahill was initially brought before the Student Executive Council, the SEC was under the impression that McCahill possessed 10 unexcused absences, which later was discovered to be a clerical error, as he only had eight. At this time, McCahill asked for, but was not granted a re-vote.
When Riches began his cross examination with Edwards, there were frequent moments of tension.
“Mr. Edwards, I’m going to be asking you a few questions,” Riches said. Edwards told Riches to continue, but that President Edwards was the correct way to address him.
Edwards was then questioned on precedent and governing documents within student government.
Edwards said there are five things an internal vice president should look to for advisement, and he listed them in order – the Bible, the guiding vision of university, guiding documents, precedent and finally, Robert’s Rules of Order, which is often adopted for use by deliberative assemblies.
Edwards was asked to clarify if he believed that precedent should take place over governing documents.
“Should it? No,” he said. “Does it? Yes.”
When asked by Chief Justice Cody Coll if he felt this was bad, Edwards said it depended on the nature of the infraction.
Associate justice Courtney Davis asked Edwards if there had ever been talk about revising the governing documents to include the idea that one missing office hour was equivalent to an absence, as confusion around the topic has been prevalent throughout the hearing.
“That would be most effective,” Edwards said.
Edwards said there has not been a formal conversation on the topic, however there have been many ‘whispers’ that it should happen, and it was yet to be done.
Key topics of the hearing revolved around attendance; the concealed carry bill, authored by McCahill; and the duties of Kinghorn.
Student Body External Vice President, Kristyn Miller, was the first witness called by the defense. The plaintiffs said the Senate Executive Council and Kinghorn were targeting members of the senate who voted for the concealed carry bill. When Miller was asked how she had voted for the concealed carry bills, she said she had been against it.
“Because prior to senate that week I was having a meeting with foundation members in the community and they said, ‘Do you know how dangerous this is? There’s no way administrations would let this happen,’” Miller said. “This was not only affecting the university, it was frightening and alarming the community.”
She said opposing a bill, however, doesn’t suggest opposition for the author of the bill.
Miller was cross-examined by sophomore Elliott Riches, the plaintiff’s attorney in the case. During the cross examination, Miller said she is not very familiar with the Senate bylaws. Riches said since she is unfamiliar with the document, and because Kinghorn’s positional duties are outlined in the Senate bylaws, Miller could not accurately testify that Kinghorn always upholds her positional duties.