Student Union impeaches senator, revokes CSSA's probationary status
Executive Sen. Nicholas Kanan ’23 presented articles of impeachment against Sen. Zachary Moskovits ’26 at the Nov. 6 Student Union Senate meeting. The articles accused Moskovits of violating four subsections of Article XI, Section 1 of the Student Union Bylaws, which relates to Union member code of conduct.
In Kanan’s 10-minute opening argument, he presented a complaint that three students submitted to the Union regarding an interaction they had with Moskovits outside of Sherman Dining Hall on the night of Oct. 26. The complaint alleged that Moskovits, Steven Gaughan ’26, and four others approached the complainants as they left the dining hall.
According to the witness statement the three students submitted, the group of six approached them and asked if they had already voted. When two of the students said they had not, Moskovits, according to the witness statement, said he would “walk [them] through the process of who to vote for.” The complainants said in their statement that Moskovits directed them away from the candidate bios and directly to the ballot itself, even entering a vote on one of the students’ phones.
Kanan said that Moskovits failed to respect his fellow students and “acted antithetically to the mission of the Student Union as a whole.” He also said that Moskovits “coerced the complainants to vote in that moment under his supervision, and for the candidates that he wanted them to vote for.”
Toward the end of his opening statement, Kanan said he expected Moskovits to use the perceived bias of the complainants as a defense against the charges. “To expect them to be unbiased or even kind while describing their victimhood is unrealistic,” Kanan said.
Kanan also said that Moskovits and Gaughan had attempted to dismiss the accusations as hearsay because the person who typed the complaint was not present at the incident. However, Kanan said that the complaint was typed “at the request of the complainants, in their presence, and under their supervision.”
Moskovits opened his statement by asking the senators to enter the trial with an open mind. He then said the complaint showed a “lack of regard for the facts on the ground.”
Moskovits continued that “the entire report relies on hearsay from an unrelated author who admits deep conflict of interest.” In the beginning of the witness statement, the writer indicated that he “does not like the members of the New Frontiers Party,” which Moskovits and Gaughan were involved in creating. Moskovits said that the writer of the complaint was probably “elated” to take away the chance for NFP members to serve on the Union.
Moskovits said that the complainants misinterpreted his actions and that he and the others were trying only to start a conversation on the elections that were taking place. He also said that he interpreted the complainants’ lack of response as interest. In their complaint, the complainants said that they wished “they had the tact to say ‘fuck off.’” Moscovits referenced this phrasing throughout his argument, emphasizing that at no point did he feel that the complainants were seeking to exit the conversation.
“I made sure to give them several avenues to leave the conversation altogether,” Moskovits said. “[I gave] them full power to say ‘fuck off.’”
Gaughan offered testimony on behalf of Moskovits and said that he did not witness the senator being pushy or rude to the complainants and that the senator gave them ample opportunities to back out.
Moskovits also presented written testimony from two individuals present at the incident who shared the perspective that Moskovits was innocent. He also brought in live testimony from his Community Advisor, Marcus Hoskins ’24, who spoke to Moskovits’ character.
Both Kanan and Moskovits gave brief closing arguments summarizing the themes of the arguments they had presented for the past hour. The Senate then went into a brief executive session before reopening the meeting to vote.
The Senate voted to impeach Moskovits, with only Sen. Tako Mikhelashvili ’26 voting against impeachment. Sen. Tyler Hupart and Sen. Zev Carlyle ’26 both abstained. The Union constitution requires that the Student Union Judiciary hold a trial between five and 10 academic days from the impeachment.
After the trial, Chief Justice Noah Risley ’24 read the Senate a communication from the Judiciary regarding procedures that, according to Risley, the Senate collectively violated in giving probationary status to the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
The communication said that CSSA is in clear violation of the “duality of purpose” rule of the Student Union Bylaws. This rule prevents multiple clubs from fulfilling the same purpose. However, Risley said that Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection and Global China Connection already occupy the same purpose that CSSA would.
Risley added that the Judiciary learned that CSSA may “act as a front for the Chinese government to spy on international students” and that the Judiciary has “deemed these concerns credible.” In a later correspondence with the Justice, Risley clarified that they and Sen. Koby Gottlieb ’26 came to this conclusion after reading articles from ProPublica and the United States Department of State.
Both reports say that the Chinese government created CSSA as an international student organization to monitor the behavior of Chinese students abroad and prevent the spread of dissent.
Risley said that the Judiciary recommended that the Senate reconsider CSSA’s status. The Senate then voted unanimously by roll call to revoke CSSA’s probationary status.
Sen. Sherry Tao ’25, chair of the club support committee, urged senators to separate their concerns about CSSA’s potential connection to the Chinese government from the students involved in the club. “Please do not hold anything against any international students at Brandeis,” Tao said.
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