SA Senator Pinsker resigns, citing health

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March 20, 2009

3:46 AM

*Correction appended.*

_Flat Hat Staff Writer Mason Watson and Editor-in-Chief Austin Wright contributed reporting to this article._

College of William and Mary Student Assembly Sen. Matt Pinsker ’09 resigned his position Sunday evening, citing health concerns. Hours earlier, Sen. Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 announced plans to introduce a bill to the senate Tuesday calling for Pinsker’s impeachment.

In the bill, Ruzic alleged that Pinsker used deceptive methods and violated SA election bylaws in providing The Flat Hat with the names of students who planned to run for SA president before the permitted time period. The names were not supposed to be made public until 10 days before the March 26 election.

Ruzic was one of three candidates named. Before the final list was made public Tuesday, Ruzic decided not to run for president. On Wednesday, Ruzic was named SA presidential candidate Sarah Rojas ’10 new running mate after Austin Wiese ’10 dropped off the ticket for personal reasons.

Pinsker said his decision to resign was not related to the impeachment bill that had been announced hours earlier.

“I have been diagnosed with kidney failure, which is an extremely serious, painful and time-consuming condition,” Pinsker said in a statement to The Flat Hat.

“My resignation was planned weeks ago upon the diagnosis and is unrelated to the allegations. I recognize the timing is unfortunate; however, I am not letting outside interference influence my plans.”

In his bill of impeachment, which according to senate rules is now void, Ruzic alleged that Pinsker used a device called a keylogger, which records what is typed on a keyboard and can therefore record e-mail passwords. Ruzic alleged Pinsker recorded an SA member’s password and used it to obtain a copy of the candidate list.

In an interview with The Flat Hat, Pinsker declined to address the allegations directly. He acknowledged having keylogger software on his computer, which he uses to back up his work.

“I planned to resign upon diagnosis,” Pinsker said. “When I first heard about the impeachment charge, my first instinct was to stay and fight it. But I decided it wasn’t worth it.”

After obtaining the candidate list, Pinsker leaked it to The Flat Hat, resulting in an article listing the three named presidential candidates, as revealed by a source who wished to remain anonymous. The article was published online March 4.

Pinsker has since told SA members and Flat Hat reporters that he was the source.
In a press release, Ruzic stated that Pinsker’s activities were revealed to him by a member of the Elections Commission.

“This behavior fails to live up to the standards of an elected representative of the students of this college,” Ruzic said. “We as student senators have a responsibility to protect these elections.”
Pinsker maintains that he acted in the student body’s interest.

“I do not take the blame, I take the credit for making election information publicly available,” Pinsker said. “It is disgraceful that the SA is trying to conceal election information, and students deserve a fair and transparent governing body.”

Senior Class President Kevin Dua ’09 will be responsible for selecting someone to fill Pinsker’s seat for the remainder of the year. SA Sen. Walter McClean expressed concern that Dua would not fill the seat as Dua has yet to appoint a new senior class vice president for advocacy, which was vacated in September when Kristin Slawter ’09 became SA vice president[1].

Sen. Ben Brown ’11 stated that all the bills sponsored solely by Pinsker, including several introduced in the previous meeting, were dead according to senate rules.

fn1. _This paragraph has been corrected. It previously stated that McClean hoped Dua would not fill Pinsker’s seat._

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