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Impeachment of Dal commerce society president fails

Beiswanger was the first impeachment attempt at Dal since 2009. (David Munro photo)

Colin Beiswanger, current president of the Dalhousie Commerce Society (DCS), faced an impeachment vote on Feb. 11 but remained in power.

The commerce society executive put the impeachment to a vote after Beiswanger was found smoking marijuana in his hotel room at a Dal hosted convention with 12 other universities present.

The DCS and the interim dean of management, Greg Hebb, chose not to comment, saying it would be inappropriate at this time. The Dal Student Union (DSU) has been involved only to make sure the process followed the rules.

“I will be keeping in touch with the person who brought the motion forward to begin with, to make sure procedures were followed,” says Aaron Wolf, VP (internal) for the DSU.

“At this point if there’s an appeal, which is what I would assume could be the only thing that could require a next step, I’ll help how I can, but if they want to appeal it or try again, there’s procedure for that too.”

Wolf has been in contact with Danny Shanahan, DSU rep on the DCS executive, who approached him when the news broke. The two went over the DSU and DCS constitutions and laid out the next few steps.

“Ultimately they followed the process that was needed for the hearing itself, which entails giving the general membership a vote, given a certain amount of time in advance, usually a week, and making sure there’s an impartial chair and secretary,” says Wolf.

The impartial secretary was DSU secretary Nicole Crozier and the chair was Ben Wedge, who declined to comment on the procedure as well.

One student, who has asked to stay anonymous to avoid repercussions with the society and fellow students, says the vote was a closed ballot of about 75 members, chaired by a member of the DSU to ensure fair trial, and was a very formal and professional process. Once the vote failed and Beiswanger was maintained as president, the meeting continued as it normally would.

“Someone in his office should conduct himself in a more professional manner,” says the student.

“Especially at an event like the JDCC conference where he is representing the business school as a whole. But I also understand that people make mistakes.”

The JDCC, or Jeux de Commerce (Commerce Games) Central, is a three-day event that was hosted this year by Dal at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel. Beiswanger was present as a representative of Dal.

“As a person, I like him but I feel maybe a precedent should have been set going forward that if you mess up like he did that you maybe shouldn’t get a second chance,” says the student.

The Dal team’s website,, is and has been unavailable for days, and no public comment has been made about the proceedings.

The DCS  has recently elected a new executive, who will replace the outgoing executive in September. It was the current executive who called for the impeachment vote, which surprised some members.

“I feel like Colin as the president is supposed to represent the people and maybe the call for impeachment should have come from them,” says the student.

Impeachment is rare, and the last time the idea was brought up was in 2009. DSU council attempted to impeach its VP (internal), but that vote also failed to pass.

“A lot of these things are learning experiences for everybody, and so mistakes are made every once in a while and they need to be dealt with,” says Wolf.

Correction: The original version of this article implied that Colin Beiswanger was present at JDCC as a part of a debate team. Beiswanger is not associated with Sodales, Dalhousie’s debating team, and did not take part in a debating event at JDCC. This article has been modified to reflect this fact. The Gazette regrets the error. 



Claire Wählen
Claire Wählen
Claire was News Editor of the Gazette for Volume 146. You can follow her on Twitter at @Claire_Wahlen.

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