University of Florida’s student president is facing impeachment after using $50,000 in mandatory student tuition fees to pay for a campus visit from Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, senior Trump campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle.
The student government on Tuesday served Michael Murphy a formal impeachment resolution that accuses him of malfeasance and abuse of power for organizing the Oct. 10 speaking event. Murphy’s potential removal from office comes as the first public impeachment hearings for President Donald Trump begin in Washington.
Murphy set up the paid event through Caroline Wren, who serves as a national financial consultant for Trump Victory, according to email correspondence cited in the UF impeachment resolution. In addition to being the president’s 2020 reelection committee, Trump Victory benefits the Republican National Committee and the Committee to Defend the President.
Murphy and Wren discussed a potential speaking engagement featuring Trump Jr., Guilfoyle and RNC co-Chairman Tommy Hicks after meeting at Wren’s house for a Fourth of July event, according to emails obtained by UF’s newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator. The publication identified Murphy’s father as a Washington lobbyist and Trump campaign donor.
Money for the event came from UF’s ACCENT Speakers Bureau, which is part of the student government, according to a copy of the engagement agreement.
Because a Student Body statute prohibits activity and service fee funds being spent in support of or against a political party “at any level,” Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle were barred from campaigning for Trump at UF. During their appearance, however, they praised the president’s policies and ideology and encouraged the audience to turn away from the “socialist” Democratic Party, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“By using student fees to advance his own expressed political beliefs at the expense of the … Student Government writ large, Mr. Murphy not only endangered students marginalized by the speakers’ white nationalist supporters, but also abused his power to advance a particular political party at the expense of the students he should represent,” the impeachment resolution states.
Attorney Daniel Nordby, who said he is representing Murphy amid the impeachment resolution, denied that his client violated any federal election law, state law or university policy, adding that the current situation is an example of American college students being “intolerant of conservative views.”
“The purpose of the event was to discuss and promote Donald Trump Jr.’s new number one New York Times best-selling book, and no campaign activity occurred at the event,” Nordby said in a statement sent to HuffPost on Thursday. “Michael fights on campus to ensure all students’ viewpoints are reflected in campus programming, and will continue to fight for those students until the end of his term as Student Body President.”
In an earlier interview with the Alligator, Murphy said he asked Wren about bringing Trump Jr. to the campus for a noncampaign event. He said he made a similar request to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and that he and his staff declined when Sanders’ representative asked if the candidate could host a campaign speech on the Gainesville campus.
Wren told The Washington Post in a statement that she reached out to Murphy in a “personal capacity” and forgot to remove her Trump Victory signature from her email.
At a UF student government meeting last week, students expressed conflicting views over the paid appearance that accommodated roughly 800 students.
“There is no reason that any student body president anywhere should be doing political favors for the national financial consultant of a president’s 2020 reelection committee,” one student said, according to local news station WCJB. “Students, when it comes to how their student fee money is spent, should have answers. Last time I checked, I didn’t agree to donate to Donald Trump’s political campaign.”
Others defending the event on the grounds of protected speech.
“Regardless of how unpopular this speaker is, ACCENT’s recent financing of this event was totally in-line with their mission statement of fostering intellectual diversity on campus by bringing sometimes controversial speakers,” another student told WCJB.
Hundreds of people protested outside the event featuring Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle. Some expressed outrage that students were not consulted about the event before it was scheduled, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“It sends the message that student government doesn’t care about the student body and what they want,” graduate student Maxine Donnelly told the newspaper.
This story has been updated with a statement from Murphy’s attorney, Daniel Nordby.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.