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Jaren Stewart: Who is the Clemson student body vice president?

CUSG Vice President Jaren Stewart will face an impeachment trial on Nov. 6.
Courtesy of CUSG
CUSG Vice President Jaren Stewart will face an impeachment trial on Nov. 6.

When Jaren Stewart sat down for the pledge of allegiance during the Oct. 2 meeting, he followed in the footsteps of athletes and entertainers over the last 12 months.
Afterwards, Stewart said that he did so because he wanted to “heal the dysfunction” on campus. However, within the last few weeks, Stewart has been met with chaos, all surrounding his potential impeachment on Nov. 6.
Talk of Stewart’s impeachment first began among the CUSG Senate on Oct. 3, when an incident report of his misconduct as an RA was sent to members of the Senate leadership. Among the allegations were accusations of stealing and threats.
Stewart said that the issue has “been completely resolved [by OCES].”
“If any of the comments made were actually founded, I wouldn’t be the vice president. I would be removed from office,” he said during the Oct. 9 Senate meeting. “I did not step out of my realms of being an RA and being there for my residents,” Stewart said. “It’s not true. I was literally — they lived right next door to me. I wouldn’t go out of my way to hurt someone that lives next door to me.”
Still, the Senate moved to call an impeachment trial against Stewart in a 40-18 vote during the senate meeting on Oct. 23.
Stewart believes there may be social and racial motivations behind his impeachment, and that the Senate is only using the incident report as a launching pad after he and several other CUSG members sat for the Pledge of Allegiance during the Sept. 25 senate meeting.
“This is social lynching, in a way,” Stewart said during his VP announcements on Oct. 9. “There’s a deeper systemic issue in which people are choosing what they want to hear, choosing what they want to believe exists and that’s why sitting for the pledge was so important … this isn’t about conduct, this is about a stance I took from my platform.”
Stewart also said that he has never been made to feel “comfortable in student government.”
This may tie into Stewart’s comments to The Tiger eight months ago, when Stewart said, “There’s no inclusion or diversity within [CUSG] … that needs to change.”
In Feb. 2017, Stewart decided to run as CUSG Vice President with Killian McDonald, who ran for CUSG President.
“I just wanted to continue the progress of helping students on campus,” Stewart told The Tiger in a Feb. 2017 interview.
This progression began for Stewart when he moved from California to South Carolina.
“The eco-environment [in Clemson] is like a whole different fish bowl, if you will, so it was kind of a big sociology thing for me,” Stewart said.
While at Clemson, events such as the Sikes Sit-in in April 2016 and the suicide of a student inspired him to want to help students. This, in turn, led him to become an RA.
“I [thought] ‘alright, I can help students this way,’” he said.
When Stewart ran, he also said he wanted to “honor [students’]  differences,” allowing each student and organization on campus to be “highlighted.”
Stewart has also utilized social media as a way to speak out against social injustice, such as what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 and to encourage volunteering efforts among students in children’s summer camps.
In June 2016, he directed and produced a documentary highlighting the perspectives of female students on California college campuses after the Brock Turner case. Earlier that year, he also went to Charlotte, North Carolina to protest HB2, which placed restrictions on bathroom use by transgender individuals.
“It is discrimination. As a person of good character, I would let myself and countless others down by not taking a stand,” he said to The Tiger.
Stewart also brought doughnuts to Oakland, California police in July 2016 to diffuse racial tensions in the Bay Area after the Dallas attacks when five police officers were shot and killed.
All of Stewart’s activism and interest in social justice cultivated in his pledge protests. In a speech during the Senate meeting when he first sat down, Stewart said, “I am speaking for those who have been isolated or thought of as less simply because [of] skin color. I am speaking for those who have not felt welcome at Clemson.”
A week later, Stewart was found in the headlines with allegations against him. The next two weeks resulted in many CUSG Senate debates regarding his character, the legality of the documents involved in these claims and Stewart’s ability to defend himself against the claims.
Through it all, Stewart said that he “will not shy away.”
Stewart’s impeachment will take place during an executive session of the Senate on Nov. 6. At this meeting, Stewart’s time in student government will be held in the balance. And despite multiple statements from senator Miller Hoffman, Stewart still holds that much of the senate’s rationale stems from prejudice.
“They’ve already made up their minds because of this trope of the villainous African-American male. Ultimately, this stems from implicit bias.”
NOTE: The Tiger reached out to Stewart for a comment. Stewart declined; however, the quotes used from him were given to other news outlets (Anderson Independent Mail, Greenville News, The State, WYFF) as well as from previous interviews with The Tiger.

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