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CUSG Senate to halt executive sessions

Pending meetings with the administration and with legal counsel, Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) will not be hosting executive sessions. Dr. Chris Miller, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, assured The Tiger in a discussion that “there will be no more executive sessions” until the proper meetings have been held and the correct open meeting regulations are in place and being met. Miller further assured The Tiger that upon completion of these meetings, the appropriate guidelines for the use of executive sessions would be added to CUSG Senate bylaws. 

The issue over the holding of executive sessions was raised most recently following the holding of one such session by CUSG on Monday, September 19. The purpose of said session was to hold a discussion, which would not result in a vote or resolution, on comments that had been made by Head Coach Dabo Swinney the preceding 

week on race relations and the on-going protest of NFL player Colin Kaepernick. This was not the first time CUSG entered into an executive session against open meeting regulations, nor was it the first time The Tiger approached members of CUSG about the issue.

Because CUSG is a part of a public university that receives taxpayer money, is supported by that money and distributes money annually, they are defined as a public body by state law. As such, they are beholden to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and to the same open meeting laws as all other public bodies in the state. These laws dictate that all public bodies must make their official meetings open the public in order to create transparency and openness. According to the SC Code of Laws, Section 30-4-7 (a) (1), the following are acceptable reasons for entering into a private executive sessions: “Discussion of employment, appointment, compensation, promotion, demotion, discipline, or release of an employee, a student, or a person regulated by a public body or the appointment of a person to a public body,” none of which applies to the discussion of Swinney’s comments. 

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