Floyd demotion, Temmallo resignation shake SGB as elections near


Kaycee Orwig | Senior Staff Photographer

The Cathedral of Learning and William Pitt Union.

By Rebecca Johnson, Jon Moss, and Betul Tuncer

The Friday demotion of Student Government Board member Danielle Floyd from her position as vice president for initiatives, and board member Daniel Temmallo’s Saturday night resignation, shook the organization as its Tuesday elections neared.

President Harshitha Ramanan removed Floyd from her vice presidential position through a Friday written reprimand, in which she alleged Floyd violated “viewpoint neutrality,” allocations procedures, the code of ethics and “being a respectful member of the organization.”

The allegations appeared to center on a vote taken by the board at its last public meeting to approve a $35,000 allocations request from Rainbow Alliance. The organization, which requested money to put on a Pride event, endorsed Floyd in this year’s elections. According to Ramanan’s letter, Floyd “informed everyone” before the public meeting about a conflict of interest and “let us all know that you would be abstaining.”

Floyd ultimately did not abstain from the Tuesday vote — voting in favor of the allocations request, along with all other board members — which Ramanan said in her letter was an action to “move forward without my advice resulting in violating the Governing Code and SGB practices.”

Floyd, who now serves as a regular board member with no vice presidential title, declined to comment Sunday evening on her vote or the alleged violations listed in Ramanan’s letter. She said the situation has been resolved internally and hopes to get back to her campaign with the Dream slate.

“I think as an SGB we’re here to serve students and because of that, for us to make progress on the work that we’re doing, it’s important that we have a solid line of communication with one another,” Floyd said.

Ramanan said Sunday night that the matter was resolved internally “fully in line with established SGB policies and procedures.”

According to Tyler Viljaste, Ramanan’s chief of staff, the organization has come to a “good conclusion” in regards to Floyd’s removal from her vice presidential position.

“I think the entire board is on the same page, including Danielle. I think that we’ve moved on and everything. The situation was resolved internally,” Viljaste said. “I think we had a lot of really great discussions, actually. I think everything’s fine in terms of that.”

Temmallo said in a Saturday interview that he did not “necessarily disagree” with Floyd losing her vice presidential title, and had several reasons for resigning from the board. These include allegedly being left in the dark on key issues by other people within SGB and Ramanan threatening to dismiss Temmallo for asking for more information surrounding Floyd’s demotion.

“In short, I thought President Ramanan had abused her position in power as Student Government Board president to threaten to dismiss me, to unilaterally make the decision to demote Danielle and to keep me in the dark regarding these procedures,” Temmallo said.

Temmallo said he ran into Ramanan on the sidewalk on Friday evening, and asked for more information about her dismissing Floyd, but was taken aback by her response.

“She starts talking about how Danielle has committed multiple violations, of which I am not aware of. I asked her for more information, because I wanted to know what had actually happened, and she threatened to dismiss me from my office,” Temmallo said.

Temmallo added that while he will not serve on SGB for the rest of the academic year, he’s still running for a board seat in Tuesday’s elections. He said he hoped the developments would not affect Tuesday’s elections.

“All I wanted going into this year was a drama-free election season, and that’s not what we have gotten,” Temmallo said.

Ramanan said Sunday evening that she’s unsure why Temmallo resigned, and that he didn’t provide an explanation to her or anyone else within SGB. She claimed Temmallo’s accusations on a now-deleted Saturday evening post on Reddit were taken out of context, and that her actions were in line with the organization’s governing code.

“I hold a high standard for my board and have made all the members aware of that standard. It is the president’s job to set the tone for how both the board and organization are meant to function,” Ramanan said. “I firmly believe in conversation and providing second chances. However, sometimes further actions need to be taken. The additional steps I took were only in order to ensure that SGB is functioning fairly and serving students to the highest possible standards.”

Viljaste also said he was “taken aback” by Temmallo’s resignation, and doesn’t think there are any exclusion or communication issues in the organization.

“We all attend the same meetings, we all get the same information, like there’s absolutely no gatekeeping of any information whatsoever in this organization,” Viljaste said. “I guess what we can all say is we were really confused and blindsided ourselves, because this was never something that was even brought up, at least as far as I know.”

Viljaste added that he wished Temmallo had communicated about how he felt so that any issues could have been resolved earlier.

Joe Landsittel, who served as co-chief-of-staff with Viljaste during the fall semester, said he feels as though friendships and politics are more involved in SGB decision making than they should be.

“I think that it would be helpful to have an environment in SGB where people can disagree with each other without being disagreeable,” Landsittel said. “Where everybody in the room is listened to and, you know, decisions are made solely based on logical reasoning and critical thinking and not at all based on people’s opinions of each other.” 

Landsittel said he thinks that the current board is aware of problems regarding communication, and hopes they work to “value a diversity of opinions in the room.”

“I think there are members of the board who would form a consensus on most issues being discussed very quickly,” Landsittel said. “I think that consensus on issues were formed faster than you would expect. I think the board would benefit from having more discussion when engaging with issues around campus.”

Viljaste said he thinks Ramanan went about her decision-making process correctly, and she spent a considerable amount of time thinking about how to handle the situation. He added that the environment within SGB is “really good and open” in terms of communication.

“I think that she spent a good amount of days after the event happened at the public meeting, really thinking about it and deliberating and taking her time and working with the people that she needed to,” Viljaste said. “So I think, personally, that everything was done perfectly fine. I don’t think there was any communication issues.”

Temmallo said Sunday evening that it “ultimately comes down to everybody” — the president and eight board members — to “try and connect with each other” and ensure communication inside SGB.

Floyd did not directly comment on the environment with SGB, but said communication is crucial within student governance.

“I think just fostering good relationships between one another is really important. I’m not saying there is or there isn’t conflict,” Floyd said. “I’m just saying, in order for us to make progress and work on initiatives, fostering good relationships are just good for any governance or board structure in general.”