EXCLUSIVE: USG Senator Jacob Ellenhorn fights back against impeachment charges
He claims the charges are a result of USG and the Program Board’s ‘political bias, anti-Semitism and lack of respect for free speech’
USG Commuter Senator Jacob Ellenhorn is challenging the impeachment charges brought against him by the Program Board.
Diana Jimenez, the Executive Director, has filed a former complaint against Ellenhorn, asking for his impeachment from office.
Ellenhorn publicly responded with an open letter denouncing Jimenez’s charges as mere retribution for his “speaking out against political bias, wasteful spending, and holding individuals accountable for their actions.”
Jimenez’s complaint has activated Section 6 of USG bylaws, meaning that the current Senate has 10 days to vote whether or not Ellenhorn will be removed from office. Removing Ellenhorn requires a two thirds majority vote.
Jimenez charges Ellenhorn with three violations.
First, she claims: “Senator Ellenhorn misuses his title while representing our student body inappropriately,” citing an incident when three Jewish students testified at an Open Forum of USG meeting occurring on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, that the Women’s Student Assembly (WSA) discriminated against their interests on the basis of anti-Semitism.
Jimenez contends that Ellenhorn was responsible for following up with the three students, that Ellenhorn was to blame when one of the students did not want to meet out of “lack of comfort.”
Jimenez’s second charge states: “Senator Ellenhorn has not behaved responsibility [sic] when advocating or representing our student body.”
This charge clearly alludes to Ellenhorn’s presidency of USC College Republicans and the many conservative speakers, including Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos, who Ellenhorn has brought to campus through the club.
Finally, Jimenez alleges that Ellenhorn violated USC Departments Event Approvals when filming and photographing open, on-campus events ran by the Program Board.
In an exclusive interview, Ellenhorn told The Tab USC: “These complaints are completely unfounded, and they’re just based on a difference of political beliefs.”
“Diana’s just angry at my opinions and jealous that when I brought Milo Yiannopoulos to campus, 100 kids crammed into a classroom in Kap to see him, and when she puts on events no one shows up.”
Ellenhorn also claims that low attendance at WSA and Program Board events can be attributed to their singular political agendas and disregard for diversity of opinion.
Regarding the success of his events – Yiannopoulos’s talk at USC has upwards of 56,000 views on YouTube – Ellenhorn said: “When you have events that question authority and the hegemonic nature of college campuses as I do, people show up.”
On such event that Ellenhorn has specifically brought to the attention of the media was the Consent Carnival, which he attended and covered for Campus Reform. In a time when USG continually claims to value transparency above all else, one might assume that Ellenhorn would be lauded for his exposure of USG and the Program Board’s spending, but as Jimenez’s complaint shows, USG’s response has been overwhelmingly negative.
Ellenhorn said: “Last spring, I got an email from the communications department of student government with the headline ‘DO NOT TALK TO THE PRESS’.
“It was right around the time when Rini [Sampath] and Jordan [Fowler] were accused of only hiring their friends for assistant director positions. Basically, speaking to the media and being open about the crap that goes on in USG is not allowed.”
Despite the backlash, Ellenhorn has never backed down. He has repeatedly advocated for responsible spending and has publicized alleged misuse of USG funds. Still, Ellenhorn’s defiance has not halted USG’s attempts to restrict him.
Ellenhorn said: “Throughout my tenure as senator, I’ve been told by USG what to wear, what not to wear, who to speak to, who not to speak to. They’ve repeatedly tried to neuter me into submission, and since that hasn’t worked, they’ve now resorted to threatening me.”
Furthermore, Ellenhorn, who is Jewish, also claimed: “I’ve been accused of being a part of a Jew-spiracy that makes up anti-Semitic hate crimes. USG talks about campus climate, but somehow ignores the reality that Jewish students on this campus do not feel safe.”
Despite the character attacks and threats that Ellenhorn contends to have repeatedly faced, he remains resilient. His open letter on Facebook, decrying Jimenez’s complaint, has been shared dozens of times.
Ellenhorn has now transcended the USC political scene, emerging as a campus icon of free speech. #SaveJacob is starting to trend on Facebook, as students now realize that Ellenhorn is a figure defending students’ rights to express and imbibe a diversity of opinions.
“If anything, the only person who should be kicked out is Diana for showing a blatant disregard for the student voice and for shutting down opposing opinions.” The verdict is still out on Ellenhorn’s standing in the Senate, but Ellenhorn remains firm in his resolve: “Even if they remove me, they cannot silence me.”
Diana Jimenez did not respond when reached for comment.