Illinois Student Senate vice president-external, senator resign at meeting

Vice President-External Timmy Knudsen and Senator Dominique “Modaddy” Johnson both resigned from the Illinois Student Senate at Wednesday night’s meeting.

“It has all just become way too much ... I enjoy public service and love the University, which is why I volunteered my limited law school time to ISS,” Knudsen said. “Several friends my age told me I would not be accepted by the ISS insiders, but I brushed that off as nonsense.”

Though he said this does not have anything to do with his resignation, he said he felt like an outsider when he was contacted regarding concerns about a closed Illinois Student Senate Facebook group, where senators have had discussions in quorum numbers, effectively violating Open Meetings Act. He said that on the Facebook page, senators had shelled groups of constituents out from receiving information, even including the name of one of these constituents.

He also said Johnson, a sophomore in LAS, had called other senators to discuss Knudsen, making the senators upset enough to reach out to Knudsen. When confronted, Johnson denied the allegation.

“I need not explain the level of maturity it takes to talk bad about someone, yet avoid them at the same time,” Knudsen said. “We’re a student government, and there’s a huge difference between relationships and politics. So here I am, willing to brush off any dirt that has been thrown at me, and say genuinely ... open your eyes and re-examine your role as senators. You’re not here to play politics and talk a lot.”

He ultimately cited his hectic schedule as the main reason he resigned.

Several members thanked Knudsen for his time, including Vice President-Internal Jenny Baldwin.

“We are certainly thankful for him giving his time, especially for the busiest time which is Homecoming,” she said. “We’re sad to see him go but incredibly happy that he is doing what’s right for himself and for putting the body first.”

Johnson responded as well: “I am very sad to hear that Timmy stepped down. However, I am literally at my wits ... and I just don’t want you to think that I was talking behind his back.”

The senate plans to host nominations for a new vice president-external next week with an election to follow.

Senator Joseph Moseley, junior in ACES, submitted a proposal to the agenda calling for the removal of Johnson, after he was caught using someone else’s i>Clicker to vote to abstain from a vote at an Oct. 2 meeting, which establishes good cause for removal. Immediately following the proposal’s announcement, Johnson resigned.

“That came out of left field and I don’t think anybody really expected it,” Baldwin said. “He has put a lot of effort into this body and I feel that his frustrations probably got the better of him tonight.”

The senate also approved an allocation for the upcoming Fall Advocacy Day on Nov. 6, in which senators will travel to Springfield to lobby representatives. Senators also voted to create an Illinois Student Senate subreddit on Reddit to better reach out to the student body.

Megan can be reached at majones5@dailyillini.com.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated that former Senator Dominique “Modaddy” Johnson had used another senator’s i>Clicker to vote. Dominique “Modaddy” Johnson abstained from a vote. The Daily Illini regrets the error.