The College of Charleston's student body president faces impeachment today for sending messages from his personal Twitter account that contained offensive comments about women, gays, blacks and his colleagues.
The college's Student Government Association will vote on president Ross Kressel's impeachment at 4:30 p.m. in the Stern Center ballroom. Impeaching Kressel would require a two-thirds majority vote. If he's impeached, the matter then goes before the students on the college's Honor Council, which has eight days to ultimately decide Kressel's fate.
Never in the college's history has a student body president been removed from office, said college spokesman Mike Robertson.
The tweets have since been removed from Kressel's account, which was called CofCPolitico. But College of Charleston senior Peter VonLehe Ruegner, who ran for president against Kressel, posted them on his blog. The messages include:
--Just saw big (reference to woman's chest) freshman, who is now a sophomore.
--Ah yes, funny looking flamming (sic) black kid thinks he's funny and looks like Paul Bradley. I have my fingers crossed he doesn't roll his eyes.
--Bitchy VP is being bitchy.
--Sororitute just gave me the (offensive word for woman) glare.
Kressel declined an interview Monday with The Post and Courier. He said he would not make any comments until today.
But Kressel last week gave a prepared statement to the student newspaper, the George Street Observer, which broke the story. In that statement, Kressel said, "My actions in this case were unprofessional, inappropriate and misguided and I sincerely do apologize and have begun work towards repairing the damage from my actions. With all that being said, I view the content of these tweets as a private matter."
Ruegner also questioned whether Kressel sent the tweets while he was being paid by the college.
The student body president is paid $13.50 per hour, Robertson said, and can earn up to the equivalent of a year of in-state tuition. This year, in-state tuition is $9,616.
The college won't comment on the matter, Robertson said, but will "allow the SGA process to proceed."
LaQunya Baker, a junior, who is Kressel's chief of staff, called some of the tweets "alarming." She was especially surprised, she said, because Kressel has done work on "nondiscrimination issues."
Baker, who also ran for president against Kressel, said at least one of the tweets was aimed at her.
Perhaps Kressel was "playing around" when he sent the offensive messages, she said. "But he's an SGA president" and his actions affect the association and the school.
Both Baker and Luke Rozansky, a sophomore and the association's treasurer, verified that the tweets on Ruegner's blog were copies of the messages Kressel had sent. Copies of the tweets earlier were sent to the association's executive board, they said. They are unsure how Ruegner got them.
Rozansky said the tweets are offensive to everyone. As a student body president, Kressel should be building up the school, not putting it in a bad light, he said. He thinks Kressel's action warrant an impeachment vote.
"A lot of people are taken back by the whole situation," he said. "Ross is a great person. But he made a mistake I can't look past right now."
C of C student body president
Pay: $13.50 per hour, up to cost of in-state tuition ($9,616 this year).
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491.