CSGA President Potentially Faces Another Impeachment Hearing


Conrad Timothy

Kawena Phillips responds to an Instagram post by CUH’s Campus Ministry, which has since been deleted, depicting two students holding signs that label everyone as contributors to climate change.

Until the 2020 Spring semester, Chaminade University never saw a Chaminade Student Government Association president be put under impeachment. However, students might see it happen twice before taking the term’s final exams.

On Jan. 22, Chaminade’s House of Representatives held an impeachment hearing for CSGA President Kawena Phillips that was sparked by a number of his social media posts on his personal accounts that students, such as fourth-year Psychology major and impeachment petition creator Charlynn Adversalo, deemed as unpresidential. Though the meeting ended with Phillips retaining his position with the final vote failing to reach a quorum (⅔ majority), the 8-8 result encouraged Adversalo to pursue another hearing.

“Although a lot of people told me that they chose not to [sign the first petition] due to personal reasons or due to the fact that some going to graduate soon, it’s still a shot that I can take,” she said. “And the fact that I’ve gotten a wider variety of people to sign [the second petition], it has only pushed me more to continue.”

The original petition was created in October and garnered enough signatures to be submitted the next month. The impeachment, however, was pushed back to take place after Christmas break due to an insufficient amount of time for the student executive board to organize a hearing. Once the day came, CSGA Vice President Kiso Skelton facilitated the gathering in Henry 102 as Phillips testified for his actions followed by an anonymous vote from representatives of Chaminade’s student clubs.

Through Instagram (angryangryhawaiian) and Twitter (@kue_kawena), Phillips wrote about issues in Chaminade that he wanted to address while tagging Chaminade University and its Campus Ministry in most of them. Those issues range from the school’s lack of communication when it comes to increasing student fees to its insensitivity to the Hawaiian culture. His posts are available to see publicly, and he has 1,236 Instagram and 7,972 Twitter followers.

Screenshot by Chaminade Silversword
Phillips, who is also an executive member of Chaminade’s Hawaiian Club, performed a traditional Hawaiian chant at 2018’s Pacific Island Review.

“I use my social media a lot as a platform to speak out on issues that I care about and issues that I feel others should care about or at least think about to initiate conversations,” Phillips said in an interview on Jan. 28. “That’s been a thing I’ve done for a while and will continue to do, and I guess that it’s something that a lot of people at Chaminade were not used to.”

Previous CSGA presidents were heavily involved in Chaminade’s religious departments before assuming their roles as executive leaders. Phillips, coming from the school’s cultural scene, feels that his own perspective offered a lot to the school, though some thought differently when he spoke on topics relating to Campus Ministry.

“Talking to other people about their stories and experiences in regards to how they took [Phillips’s posts], a lot of them were similar,” said Adversalo, who is also involved with Chaminade’s Campus Ministry. “I’m Hawaiian, he’s Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, but we don’t all agree with what he said.”

Screenshot by Chaminade Silversword
Phillips would often tag Chaminade University in his posts to lessen the chances of the matter being ignored.

A second impeachment petition started circulating through campus a week after the trial’s conclusion with the intention of establishing another hearing for Phillips’s removal from presidency. Petition signers feel that the first trial was inadequate due to the presence of only 16 of the 27 active clubs and it taking place on the first week of school right after Founder’s Mass. 

According to Office of Student Activities and Leadership Director Joseph Granado, any member of Chaminade’s student executive board is able to be placed under impeachment as many times as possible as long as the petition for it acquires the signatures of 35 full-time undergraduate students.

After collecting over 50 signatures, Adversalo plans to submit the petition sometime this week in hopes of creating another hearing at the House of Representative’s next meeting, which would be on Feb. 19.

“I got into this position just on the fact that I wanted to help the students and work for students,” Phillips said. “If things like this happens, then it happens. I just had to prepare for it as best as I can and continue working for the students.”