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Attorney General Ken Paxton avoided removal from office by the Texas Senate earlier this month, but another elected leader in the state was not so fortunate.
The Texas A&M University Student Senate voted 35-15 Wednesday night to impeach and remove student body President Hudson Kraus from office, according to The Battalion, the student newspaper.
The student Senate brought a motion to impeach Kraus earlier this month after some members of the Senate claimed he misused his office to benefit his younger brother, also a student at the university. The impeachment trial was conducted in executive session. Kraus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The controversy began when a student senator revealed that Kraus had edited the job description for a cabinet position to fit his younger brother’s qualifications on the same day the student Senate was set to vote on filling the position. The student Senate then blocked Kraus’ brother from being appointed to a cabinet position.
Kraus apologized to senators privately.
“As family is incredibly important to me, I just wanted to try and protect my brother and see what was best for him to occur,” Kraus wrote in an apology letter published by The Battalion. “Unfortunately, I made inaccurate decisions that were not indicative of my character in trying to defend a member of my family.”
But the Battalion reported that senators wanted a public apology.
Initially, Kraus filed an appeal to the Judicial Court of Texas A&M. According to The Battalion, the request is made if someone believes there was an error in student government procedures. The court of student justices granted an injunction, which paused the proceedings while a judicial trial was conducted.
Shortly after, Kraus withdrew the appeal, according to a statement he released on Sept. 19 defending his actions, stating that he had the authority to adjust the cabinet position qualifications as president.
“I apologized for not proactively communicating my revision of the qualifications when it was read aloud at the general senate meeting and requested an intermediary action as an alternative to impeachment,” Kraus wrote, adding that impeachment should be used only when someone misused their office.
“An impeachment would overturn the desires of the Texas A&M student body, who elected me to represent them as Student Body President,” he stated.
According to The Battalion, senators declined to comment on the vote, citing a gag order, until the senate’s Internal Affairs Committee makes an official statement.
The last time members of the Texas A&M student government brought impeachment proceedings against a student body president was in 2014.
That impeachment was brought against the president by former student senator Cary Cheshire, now a right-wing activist tied to groups funded by West Texas oil tycoon Tim Dunn.
The impeachment ultimately failed.
Many state leaders have served as student body presidents in college, including Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp.
Paxton was also student body president when he attended Baylor University.
Disclosure: Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University System have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.