Ousted student president fights university decision - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Ousted student president fights university decision

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

McNeese State University President, Dr. Phillip Williams, said elected student body president, Davante Lewis, is academically ineligible to serve as president. 

"I will not stand for unilaterally being removed without following the constitution," said Lewis.

Lewis is speaking about the recent decision by Williams not to recognize Lewis as student body president.

McNeese spokeswoman Candace Townsend said the issue is Lewis' grades.

"Dr. Williams believes the constitution regarding the grade point average is very clear, and based on that GPA requirement in the SGA constitution, Mr. Lewis is ineligible to be the SGA president," said Townsend.  

The constitution states that in order to run for president, candidates must maintain a 2.4 cumulative grade point average. It also says candidates must have an average GPA of at least 2.5 over the two previous semesters. Lewis thinks the language is confusing. 

"The line clearly is talking about qualifications, there is no denying that," said Lewis. "It's just that we have to work diligently with the administration to clear up the language so there is no confusion for anybody." 

Based on Lewis' interpretation, he met the GPA requirement two semesters before taking office in the spring of 2013. But the university's interpretation includes the spring semester he took office. Lewis admits that semester wasn't one of his best. 

"We're students it's our student government, we can be correct in our interpretation," Lewis said. "But if we are correct, then he will withhold his approval of the constitution and therefore withhold the opportunity for us to use any of our funds has to be approved by the president."

University officials say they're not trying to stop student government.   

"There is nothing about this that is tied to placing a hold of any kind on funding as long as the funding requests are made by the person who is recognized as the qualified president," she said. 

Lewis said he doesn't plan on moving aside until he gets more answers.

"The only way I would leave this office is if the student body - who has elected me twice as president - tells me to or impeaches me through senate procedures," he said.

Lewis was scheduled to be sworn in on the UL System's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. That may not happen in light of Williams' decision. 

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved. 

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