SGA president arrested for DUIBy Jackson Fuentes | 01/21/2018 10:05pm
Photo courtesy of the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office
UA SGA President Jared Hunter’s arrest early Sunday morning for driving under the influence has led to a day in jail and could mean other sanctions under the SGA constitution.
According to a media release from Lt. Teena Richardson, the community relations officer of the Tuscaloosa Police Department, the TPD responded to a head-on car crash, which had resulted in minor injuries, early Sunday morning. The officers were investigating the car accident when they smelled alcohol on Hunter and noticed him exhibiting "behaviors indicative of a person driving impaired."
Hunter, a senior majoring in political science and economics, performed “poorly” on a field sobriety test administered by officers and was then moved to Tuscaloosa County Jail where they measured his BAC at 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit. Hunter was taken into custody under a $1000 bond.
The punishments for first-time DUI offenses in Alabama possibly include a 90-day suspension of the person's driver's license, a $600-$2100 fine, and the possibility of up to 1 year in jail.
The Crimson White also received a statement from the Associate Vice President for Communications Monica Watts.
“We are disappointed when any of our students use poor judgement,” said Watts. “We don’t have all of the details at this time so it would be premature for us to comment further.”
For now Hunter has been unavailable for comment, and many current SGA members that The Crimson White reached out to shared the discomfort felt by the University and declined to comment at the moment.
However, Senator Robert Pendley, a third-year law student, said the general consensus that he has seen is that Hunter won't remain in office for too long.
“Everyone [that] I have talked to does not consider Jared Hunter to be president anymore. It is only a matter of making it official,” Pendley said.
To make it official, Hunter can either resign or he can be impeached.
According to Article IX of the SGA constitution any “incompetence, malfeasance, or misfeasance in office” makes a president eligible for impeachment and removal depending on if a student files a petition for impeachment with an additional 99 student signatures.
After the filing the petition, a panel consisting of the Attorney General and two Student Judicial Board Justices would perform a preliminary investigation to determine if the claims for impeachment meet the grounds for removal. If the panel concludes the grounds are met, they would send the petition to the senate.
The senate would then consider the impeachment claims for the next three senate sessions, with the final session ending in a vote for whether or not to impeach and remove the president. A three-fifths supermajority of 30 senators is required for it to pass. If it passes, then he immediately loses his office and all the rights and privileges that come with it.
If Hunter were to be impeached because of his DUI, then the Executive Vice President Casey Nelson would take over as SGA President.
Even if no impeachment petition is filed, Hunter could still be subject to multiple sanctions after judicial hearings. Hunter’s DUI would include a minimum sanction which “shall include disqualification for reception of end of the year awards… and 20 community service hours in addition to all hours required by state, federal, local or university officials,” according to the SGA Constitution.
Additionally, maximum sanctions could be enacted on the current president including, "suspension or withholding of pay for future or previous services rendered to the SGA, removal of parking privileges, suspension from office, expulsion from office, and permanent expulsion from the SGA,” according to the SGA Constitution.
These sanctions would not be administered until after a hearing for Hunter, in which case “the Judicial Board shall find whether or not the offense(s) as charged has been proven by the information offered.”