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Metro State Student President Ousted By: Ben Scott
DenverPost.com | Monday, November 03, 2003

The student government executive committee at Metropolitan State College has voted unanimously to oust its president, but students and staff insist the removal wasn't punishment for speaking at a rally against a proposed Academic Bill of Rights.

Felicia Woodson was introduced as president of the Student Government Assembly during a Sept. 30 news conference opposing Republican pundit David Horowitz's plan to ensure that conservative views are equally represented on campuses.

Harris Singer, who represents the assembly on the school's Board of Trustees, brought nine complaints against Woodson, including "incorrect representation of the SGA in local media."

Woodson termed as "laughable" the contention that her September speech had nothing to do with her ouster, which came in a vote Friday.

She said the action might set a precedent for discouraging students from voicing political views.

"Students should be able to speak out and feel protected," Woodson said.

Woodson's speech irked other members of the assembly, who wanted to address the political issue as a body.

"When somebody outright defies what we agreed upon, you know that this person isn't going to respect other decisions as well," said Linda Cordova, a member of the executive committee.

But that wasn't why she was removed from office, said Zav Dadabhoy, staff adviser to the assembly.

"The nine counts that were discussed all dealt with issues of job performance," Dadabhoy said. "The entire thing with Horowitz was not brought up."

Still, Woodson's speech caused existing criticism of her five-month tenure as president to snowball.

Woodson was introduced as president of the student body at the rally and referenced her presidency, even though she stated that she didn't speak for her post.

Other members of the student government said this implied universal support for the controversial issue.

It takes a majority of the governing committee to remove a president.

"Her speaking definitely left us wondering where the dividing line is between student government working as team and as individuals," Singer said.

The Auraria College Republicans considered filing a complaint, saying Woodson stepped out of bounds by taking sides on the proposed Academic Bill of Rights.

"She used her position at a protest rally to make it sound like this is the way the student government felt," said Dennis Bergquist, treasurer of the campus Republican group and administrative assistant to SGA. "I feel like I was misrepresented as a student."

The Metro State student government will meet today to appoint an acting president. Woodson said she plans to appeal the executive committee's decision.

Woodson is the second student body president in nine months to be removed from office at Metro.

Brotha Seku was suspended by the school's judicial board and removed from office in February for violating disciplinary probation, which involved charges such as intimidating behavior at meetings and unauthorized purchases.

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