As impeachment hearings drag on in Washington, D.C., a different kind of impeachment is underway at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. The student body president, Michael Murphy, is facing impeachment from student senators after he booked Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, for a book event and speech at the university.
The book event, where Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle discussed his book, “Triggered,” was not a campaign event nor was it political. The University of Florida spokesperson reiterated the apolitical nature of the event, telling CNN, “”UF’s policy regarding campaign appearances on campus is in alignment with state and federal law regarding campaign appearances on campus. Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle were advised about UF’s policy prior to their appearance and did not engage in campaign activities during the event.”
However, this did not stop some student senators from moving to impeach Murphy for politicizing the university by hosting Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle. The accusations were based on the fact that the University of Florida’s ACCENT Speakers Bureau paid the couple $50,000 to appear at the university, which was funded by student fees. The university newspaper, the Independent Florida Alligator, published e-mails revealing the back-and-forth discussion on a possible book event between Murphy and Caroline Wren, a finance official for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign called Trump Victory.
Five student senators filed an impeachment resolution and claimed Murphy “abused his power to advance a particular political party at the expense of the students he should represent.” One hundred and five other individuals signed onto the resolution, which included other student senators, current students and alumni.
Yet, the Tampa Bay Times reminded Floridians that the university had paid similar sums to other speakers, such as ‘Shark Tank’ star Kevin O’Leary (paid $95,000), comedian Hasan Minhaj (paid $78,000) and rapper Pitbull (paid $130,000). If anything, Trump Jr.’s paid speech fell far short of what the university paid other guest speakers.
It has gotten to the point that Murphy retained an attorney, who told CNN, “Michael Murphy did not violate federal election law, state law, or any university policies. Rather, this situation is reflective of students on college campuses across America that are intolerant of conservative views.”
Although the media and academia have hyped the impeachment resolution, it is difficult to impeach a student body president at the University of Florida. Impeachment only occurs when two-thirds of the student senators elected in the spring semester vote to impeach the president, after which the president is suspended until facing a trial in the subsequent fall semester. The president can be removed with a three-fourths vote in the student senate.