On April 16, the undergraduate Student Government Association’s (SGA)’s 11 executive cabinet members collectively resigned from their positions, citing allegations of sexual misconduct against the former Undergraduate Student Body President, Samuel Ellis, INTA ‘22, as their primary reason.
In a statement to the Institute community published on each of their personal Instagram accounts, the cabinet members stated ”In light of recent allegations against the Undergraduate Student Body President, we are stepping down from our SGA roles to stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual assault and harassment.”
The decision was preceded by the allegations of sexual misconduct against Ellis being publicly posted on the @gt.lesbianmafia Instagram account. The account, which typically posts comedic content and memes surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community at Tech, published the allegations in a post titled “Georgia Tech Gay Starter Guide” on April 14. The post’s third picture features Ellis, alongside a caption stating, “Certain SGA presidents and Fraternity BOYS may sexually assault you even though you clearly aren’t interested. It is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so I’m happy to make everyone aware.”
The post has garnered over 1,000 likes, and rapidly spread around among the student body upon its posting, with many commenting their reactions. Two days later, the entire executive cabinet resigned after discussing the details amongst themselves.
A member of the former executive cabinet who wishes to remain anonymous discussed the resignation with the Technique.
“We never met as a full cabinet to make the decision. We ultimately made the decision of a joint statement after multiple conversations between different VPs. Everyone ultimately looked to the [Executive Vice President] when we made the decision to all resign and sign the same statement,” said the source.
The cabinet decided this was the best course of action on account of the short amount of time remaining on the then current SGA officer’s terms.
Ellis and his cabinet’s terms expired on April 19, while impeachment would, at a minimum, have required two weeks to occur due to SGA bylaws dictating their proceedings.
“The [President] refused to resign, and it [would] take at least 2 weeks for an impeachment to be complete (from a special session of the House being called, the UJC meeting and making a decision, and UHR voting on the recommendation). [Given this], it was the best action we felt we could take,” said the source.
When asked whether Ellis had said anything to SGA about the allegations, the source said, “He never had a meeting with [the SGA Executive Cabinet] as a whole. He didn’t issue any statements to SGA and remained mostly silent. He met with Dean Stein, our [Executive Vice President], and the incoming President… He just sent all current cabinet members a message explaining his side of the allegations.”
In addition, according to the source, Ellis refused to resign.
When asked about the board’s decision to resign, Ajanta Choudhury, BIO ‘22 and the former Executive Vice President, did not wish to comment. Ellis did not respond when asked to comment.
Ellis’ fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, released a statement on April 19 stating that “This past week, Phi Gamma Delta received news of allegations against one of our members. Immediately upon receiving this information, the executive cabinet and judicial board unanimously agreed to immediately suspend his membership,” without naming the member.
With a new cabinet, partly composed of members of the previous cabinet, newly sworn in and transitioned, the executive board is looking to start the year off on the right track.
“Each VP seems to be willing to meet with their successors to transition and make sure they have all the information to succeed [in their position],” said the source.
Resources for victims of sexual assault and violence, as well as mental health resources, can be found at care.gatech.edu and rainn.org, or in person at GT CARE in the flag building.