JC: ASUW director of diversity violates code of ethics, will appeal

The ASUW Judicial Council has recommended Hunter McFarland, director of diversity for the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming, be placed on probation starting Jan. 22, 2018 from her position.

This judicial council recommendation comes from McFarland violating the ASUW Code of Ethics, according to the Official Opinion of the ASUW Judicial Council.

“It is the opinion of the Judicial Council that Ms. McFarland did violate certain sections of the ASUW Code of Ethics” Justice Suzy Manown, writer of the opinion, said and she is joined by the rest of the justices.

In her opinion, Justice Manown laid out what the punishment will be. Starting Jan. 22, McFarland will be placed on probation for 30 calendar days, unless she writes an apology letter to Jessie Leach, president of Turning Point USA, for her behavior surrounding the Dennis Prager event.

One section of the Code of Ethics that the Judicial Council found McFarland was in violation of was Section 2(B). It states, “I will express my opinions and views on subjects brought before this governing body in a professional and civil manner and will respect and objectively evaluate the opinions and view of others.”

The second violation was Section 2(C). It states, “I will not tolerate language or actions that may discriminate against or discredit any individual student, group of students, or student organization(s).”

The evidence used was a series of Facebook posts where the Justices believe that any reasonable person would see McFarland as the ASUW Director of Diversity and that the language that she used in those posts violated the two sections from the Code of Ethics stated above, according to the ruling.

In an official email responding to the Judicial Council’s ruling, McFarland wrote, “This is my official notice that I am appealing the December 13th decision made by the Judicial Council.”

According to the same email, she has until Jan. 22 to compile the materials she will need for the appeal.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Senuri Bisheka Hettigoda, joined by Justice Samuel Laffey, said, “The ASUW Bylaws are clear. Articles of impeachment should have already been presented to the ASUW Senate by its own membership against Ms. McFarland for her previously suspected violation of the ASUW Ethics Code.”

In a dissenting in part opinion, Justice Laffey said that he disagreed with the ruling that the message that McFarland sent to Leach was a threat. That the message was a violation of Section 2(D) of the Code of Ethics, which states, “I will endeavor to allow the presentation of all views, however diverse, of any student, group of students, or student organization(s) or subject, which may come before this governing body.”

CORRECTION: The Branding Iron erroneously published that Hunter McFarland would be placed on “suspension,” however, we have reviewed the documents and found that she will actually be placed on probation. We are sorry for any inconveniences or misinformation.

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