Last Thursday, members of the general assembly of the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) attempted to remove a student representative after he tried to encourage conservatives to run for the student government.
The controversy started after Sergei Kelley attempted to get more conservative students to run for ASMSU by reaching out to students on conservative email lists, asking them to fill out a survey about running for student government. When Kelley followed up with the students over email, his email signature included the student government logo, which some members of the student government have deemed inappropriate as attempting to represent the student government.
Kelley’s email signature also includes the colleges he is a part of, his majors, his position at the Morning Watch, and his class.
“I’ve had this email logo since October,” Kelley told The Daily Wire in an interview. “I use it for everything from emailing a professor, to emailing a friend to election recruitment.”
Rep. Ben Horne, who introduced a bill to remove Kelley, accused Kelley of breaking several ASMSU codes, including engaging in an “unlawful discriminatory act or practice against persons on the basis of age, color, creed, gender, marital status, national origin, physical characteristics, physical persuasion, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status,” making statements on behalf of ASMSU without consulting the Director of Public Relations, and many others.
“Representative Kelley’s actions were clear violations of the ASMSU Code of Operations, ASMSU Constitution, and MSU General Student Regulations, that was a clear consensus of a majority of the assembly,” Horne told The Morning Watch. “The discussion had in the General Assembly was that our Code currently has no reasonable method to enforce ethical violations, no matter how inappropriate the actions of any Representative.”
“It is inappropriate to use ASMSU images for your own personal use, especially for political uses. I think that goes against what ASMSU stands for as a representation of all MSU students. Regardless of your political persuasion, you can’t use your role in ASMSU to influence your communication with others,” Alex Chudzik, an MSU student, told The Morning Watch.
One student representative, Oscar Garner asked, “[i]f we don’t hold some power to reprimand, punish, or remove, what are we just going to let anyone be in here?” adding, “the terms of holding office have been violated, you should not be able to keep your job… we are the only people able to decide whether Kelley has upheld the duties of the office he was elected to.”
If Kelley had been removed, it would have been the first time a representative would have ever been removed according to ASMSU Rep. Harrison Greenleaf. The ASMSU code reportedly only calls for the removal of a representative if they exceed five absences at a meeting.
The bill did not pass. Kelley said most members agreed that Kelley inappropriately used the logo but said they did not remove him because the ASMSU code does not have guidelines as to how to enforce certain violations.
Kelley emphasized that the logo only appeared in his signature and not the documents for the Conservative Wave Plan.
“I do not think I have broken any code violations …” Kelley said to The Morning Watch. “I didn’t misrepresent ASMSU because I am one representative, not the whole [General Assembly] GA.”
When asked if he believed he was being targeted for being a conservative, Kelley said, “Yes, at one point the friend of the representative who introduced the bill said we would still be having the same conversation if I were a liberal. A lot of the liberals laughed at that. It would be very hard to imagine that.”
In the entire student government, there are 54 representatives, and Kelley said there are only three conservatives including himself, but says he is certainly the most outspoken.
Kelley also told The Daily Wire that before the vote, Horne told him, “You’re on your 9th strike, so get ready.” Kelley also claims other people told him he was being targeted for his voting against popular resolutions in the student government, including one from December that advocated for allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections.
Kelley is not only a representative of the student government, but the vice chair of the MSU College Republicans, secretary of MSU’s Turning Point USA chapter, and the executive editor of the Morning Watch — an independent conservative publication for MSU.
Kelley said he hopes more conservatives will be elected to the student government in hopes of improving the budget process and allowing the student body to vote on the student government president instead of the general assembly.
“They have discussed removing me before,” Kelley said. “This was a month or two ago after I went against the bill they didn’t want me to go against. There was one meeting where I went against a bill and I was told I am discriminating. ”
Elections begin on April 8, and Kelley said there are 18 conservatives running whom he helped recruit.
Kelley also said he still has the logo in his email signature and has no plans to remove it.
Horne did not respond to a request for comment.