StuGov Rules Committee denies recent attempts to impeach Sen. Ryan Hurley


Students of marginalized communities spoke out against microaggressions they faced while serving Student Government and attending Iowa State on March 17 during their weekly meetings.

Jake Tubbs

On Monday, the Student Government Rules Committee held an investigation and made a decision on the impending impeachment charges of Sen. Ryan Hurley. By the end of their meeting, Hurley would not have an impeachment hearing in front of the Senate, and the Senate will not be able to impeach him for the remainder of his term.   

Not much has been spoken of about Hurley and his potential charges to be impeached since the first attempt against him was slashed from the agenda on Nov. 11. However, this all changed after a Senate meeting March 10. 

A meeting that saw Student Government President Morgan Fritz and Vice President Jacob Schrader criticized about their statement concerning tweets from Rita Mookerjee, assistant teaching professor of sociology.

Students in the Senate and student body criticized Fritz and Schrader not only about how they condemned Mookerjee’s tweets but also how they did not release a statement following the College Republicans’ tweet to “arm up.”

After months of debating the grounds of Hurley’s impeachment, it has been dropped, and he will continue his current situation: to represent the Inter-Hall Residence Association (IRHA) in Student Government Senate sessions but not allowed to attend IRHA committee meetings. 

This whole situation all stemmed from a Nov. 7 tweet, also the day President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. 

The then-College Republicans at Iowa State (now called College Republicans United at Iowa State) Twitter account called for its followers to “arm up,” saying “the elites want revenge on us.”

Hurley, who is the holder of the account, was asked by IRHA President Sydney Ryckaert, junior in public relations, to explain the tweets as she heard feedback from fellow students who told her that, in their opinion, the tweet was “harmful and intensely threatening to populations on campus.”

“His disparaging and unwelcome remarks that cast a dark light over Iowa State, that have no place being spoken by an elected official, and his continued disservice of Student Government clearly show his inability and unwillingness to represent those he serves and those who elected him in the first place,” said Eddie Mahoney, director of leadership activities for the IRHA, in a statement. 

Hurley said the tweet was not a call for violence but a protection of the Second Amendment. 

“That definitely was not our intent; we were essentially saying that if Biden wins, many guns will be banned,” Hurley said in an email to Ryckaert on Nov. 8. “We support everyone’s rights to the Second Amendment, and so we used our platform to advise that. No malicious intent toward people on campus, no threat present.”

Ryckaert and her colleagues did not buy Hurley’s explanation, and he was unanimously voted out by the IRHA committee Nov. 9. 

“After getting several complaints and reports regarding the tweet made on behalf of your student organization, IRHA has concluded that we are no longer comfortable in you representing our organization with Student Government,” Ryckaert said to Hurley in an email. 

Ryckaert also revealed to Hurley that the IRHA obtained his Student Government meeting attendance records and saw that he had not attended many meetings, which, in the IRHA’s view, was not a good representation of the IRHA in Student Government, as Hurley was not presently representing them.  

The same week after Hurley’s removal from the IRHA, the Student Government Senate agenda included bill “2020-2-068 SO Removing a Senator.” 

By the time the session took place, which was Nov. 11, the bill was removed from the agenda indefinitely. 

The grounds for Hurley’s removal went into a gray area with three main issues. 

Issue #1: The College Republicans’ tweet and Iowa State university policy

In a letter by university counsel, Michael Norton said the IRHA’s claim about Hurley and his violation is a “misinterpretation of the university’s statement.”

“The issue addressed in the statement is not the speech contained in the Twitter post but is directed at potential conduct that would violate University Policy,” Norton said in a letter to Ryckaert. 

Issue #2: Hurley’s absences 

Hurley said his absences “have all been excused.”

According to IRHA policy, committee members would be allowed to have three unexcused absences and five excused absences. According to an attendance sheet by the IRHA, Hurley has had five excused absences and been has been late once. 

Issue #3: Hurley’s appeal

There was also a hitch in Hurley’s appeal process as it was revealed in an email between Hurley and Kristine Heflin, associate director of the Memorial Union for student activities, that no action was taken on his appeal. 

“Student Government Senate has not taken any action to effectuate the IRHA Executive Council vote to remove you as a Senate representative,” Heflin said. “… Accordingly, based on the facts at this time, the matter is not ripe or ready for appeal.”


Hurley also met with a legal counsel team to discuss his removal from the IRHA due to the “arm up” tweet. He concluded that his removal violates “protections granted by the First Amendment.” 

The IRHA, which is affiliated with Iowa State, a public university, could have been sued by Hurley if they were violating his First Amendment rights. 

With that all being said, the bill was tabled Nov. 11. Hurley returned to the Senate to represent the IRHA, even though he was not allowed to attend their meetings. 

However, the March 17 meeting saw the impeachment of Hurley back on the table. Though Hurley’s tweets did not violate university policy and his absences were all excused, Sen. Sehba Faheem brought the bill back to the forefront as Ryckaert spoke to the Senate about how Hurley cannot properly represent the IRHA because he is no longer allowed to attend their meetings.

It should also be noted that the Student Government election was days away, and Hurley was running for reelection, this time representing Frederiksen Court. If Hurley were to have been impeached before that time, he would not have been able to run for reelection. 

When the impeachment bill came to the floor that night, much of it was cut and revised, as, again, there was a lot of gray area. 

These facts would turn the bill from an impeachment into Hurley’s right to have a fair and sound investigation as well as a hearing from the Student Government’s Rules Committee. In a meeting between the members and Hurley, there it would be decided whether or not Hurley would be removed from his seat. 

On Monday, an answer was brought forth. 

According to Hurley afterwards, “it was realized that the charges were not legitimate,” and the Rules Committee said “that there were no grounds for removal and that I (Hurley) have not broken any rules.” The impeachment bill against the still-IRHA senator has been dropped and abandoned. 

On Tuesday, the Rules Committee sent out a statement discussing their decision to drop Hurley’s impeachment. There was too much gray in the case to definitively remove Hurley from his seat. 

“Ultimately, the discussion in committee centered on the nebulous and at times dubious scope offered to us under the bylaws to pursue action against any senator who is removed from their constituency council and the fact that Sen. Hurley’s appeal with the Student Activities Center was not heard,” the Rules Committee said in their statement. 

It was also added that the bylaws concerning the situation “lack clarity, is problematic and an item to be addressed under the next Senate and Senate Rules Committee.”

Rules Committee will continue to provide more information about their decision throughout the week. 

Student Government has their weekly meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday. 

Topics to be discussed include the Senate clarifying their position on Mookerjee’s tweets in regards to Fritz and Schrader’s statement, a discussion about the CyRide agreement and the funding of a BioBus for CyRide. 

The Senate meeting will be in the Sun Room at the Memorial Union and streamed live on the Student Government YouTube page.