Student Court issues ruling in Kinghorn case

By Hannah Neumann
Staff Writer

In the case of McCahill, Hardy v. Kinghorn, the Baylor Student Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs Woodinville, Wash., senior Gannon McCahill and San Antonio junior Chase Hardy, Wednesday evening, in the first section of their complaint.

The first section pertains to the treatment of McCahill following a senatorial disciplinary proceeding.

Kinghorn has been found guilty on one count of violating the Baylor Student Body Constitution and three counts of violating the Student Senate Bylaws. Due to her violation of the Student Body Constitution, she has also been found guilty on one count of violating her oath of office.

The Court ruled in favor of Kinghorn in the second section of the complaint, stating they did not find her culpable or guilty of any wrongdoing presented in the section. The Court’s opinion stated the second section makes a broad sweeping allegation of misconduct and failure of duty on the part of Kinghorn.

Baylor senators McCahill and Hardy filed suit against Katy junior Lawren Kinghorn, internal vice president, alleging the she failed to maintain positional duties and acted with bias within student government.

“We believe justice has been served with the unanimous decision of the Baylor University Student Court that Internal Vice President Lawren Kinghorn violated the Student Body Constitution, Student Senate Bylaws, and her oath of office,” McCahill said. “We also appreciate the Court’s valuable suggestion to make Student Government more transparent.”

Hardy said the best thing to come out of the trial is that the court recognized the Kinghorn’s fault and is seeking to make sure that something similar doesn’t occur again.

“I am very pleased with the Court’s decision and I really think justice has been served in the matter,” Hardy said. “I think it’s very important to shed light on the instances that happened so they won’t happen again.”

While Hardy and McCahill believe justice has been served, Kinghorn said she does not agree.

“I am deeply disappointed in the recent decision of the Student Court,” she said. “Justice has not been served. As such, I will be seeking my counsel’s guidance for the next steps.”

Fair Oaks Ranch junior Alex Oestreich and Granbury senior Stefanie Mundhenk represented Kinghorn, and the plaintiffs were represented by sophomore Elliott Riches.

The court began its hearing of the case of Feb. 13, and the case concluded on March 4, reaching a decision on March 18.

An example given in the court’s opinion as to Kinghorn’s violations was an incident detailed during the trial, on the initial Senate Executive Council hearing, in which the SEC voted for McCahill’s resignation.

During the trial, Frisco junior James Porter took the stand and said, during the time of voting, the SEC members were under the impression that McCahill had over 10 absences. Following the decision and through a conversation with McCahill, a numerical mistake was brought to light. When it was found that he in fact had less than 10, McCahill requested a retrial in which he could attend and provide a new defense, but his request was rejected.

In the court’s opinion, it was stated that the actions during the incident demonstrated a closed-minded and poor attitude toward the new information and retrial regarding McCahill’s circumstances. Kinghorn was in direct violation of the Bylaws by not giving proper notice of the “retrial,” and failing to provide McCahill proper opportunity to attend and provide a new defense.

Consequentially, Kinghorn will receive oral reprimand for her actions by the Court and has been instructed to compose a written apology to McCahill and the entire Student Senate. The apology will be read aloud by Kinghorn at the regular Senate meeting next Thursday.

Kinghorn has the right to appeal the sanctions placed on her to Vice President for Student Life, Kevin Jackson.

Roswell, N.M., junior Cody Coll served as Chief Justice of the case, with Texarkana, AR., senior Daniel Pellegrin as Deputy Chief Justice. Five Associate Justices also served on the bench.

The justices voted unanimously in all parts of their opinion, except on the conclusion, in which Stover filed a dissenting opinion.

Stover wrote that in light of the public nature of the case and the relevance to the day to day operation of Student Government, he felt all aspects of the matter should be issued in writing, as opposed to allowing oral reprimanding.

In response to issues within governing documents, particularly the Constitution, the Court also recommends that the IVP, the Student Body President, the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice, Chairperson of the Operations and Procedures Committee and four non-SEC members of the Senate form a committee to resolve the problem.

The opinion stated that such legislation should be passed and enacted in a timely manner prior to Diadeloso 2015 such that the constitutional amendments can be ratified by the student body during the 2015 general elections.