Lee resigned, McClain cleared

Ron Lee resigned from the Student Fee Committee after months of impeachment and then mediation proceedings.

Ron Lee resigned from the Student Fee Committee after months of impeachment and then mediation proceedings.

On April 9, the ASPSU Judicial Board issued a letter explaining that there was no evidence that McClain, president of Portland State’s Pre-Law Society, embezzled funds for the group.

Former Student Fee Committee member Ron Lee, who was also a former member of the Pre-Law Society, accused McClain after she failed to report his membership payment.

The incident gained traction after the PLS’ academic advisor and philosophy professor, Kevin Hill, took up correspondence with Lee via e-mail. In the e-mail, Lee accused Hill of intimidation and threatened to have Hill, a lawyer, disbarred.

Hill has since resigned as advisor for the PLS.

Impeachment charges were then brought against Lee by Senator P.V. Jantz, who claimed Lee abused his power as an SFC member and caused damage to a student group’s reputation.

In the letter issued by J-board chair Brad Vehafric, the board found that it was within the purview of Lee to inquire about deposits of funds by an SFC student group. The board also cleared McClain of any financial mismanagement.

“The Constitutional and Judicial Review Board has also unanimously accepted the resignation of Ron,” Vehafric said in an e-mail.

McClain said she is satisfied with the outcome but recognized that the impeachment process could have gone better. 

“I believe that there were a lot of people who had gotten involved that shouldn’t have been involved—at some point, everyone was out for blood,” McClain said. 

Since the impeachment process first became public, Lee received criticism from several members of the PLS and the J-board on its listserv. McClain also recalls an unpleasant encounter with Lee where he intimidated her so much that she had to file a report with the Campus Public Safety Office.  

According to McClain, the impeachment process did not go as smoothly as it could have because ASPSU had not dealt with such an issue in a long time.

 “I think that the university administrators need to step up and help mitigate allegations like this instead of just students,” McClain said. “I believe they would be able to do things more by the book.” 

Domanic Thomas, Students Activities and Leadership Programs advisor for ASPSU, said he believes the entire impeachment process should have been avoided from the start as it presents the students involved and ASPSU in a poor light. 

“As far as the outcomes, the positives do not outweigh the negatives,” Thomas said. “The only positive outcome is that it makes people more aware and hopefully leads to [a] better and more objective process in the future.” 

As a pre-law hopeful, Lee is required to disclose all details about his allegations against McClain upon taking the bar exam in order to become a lawyer.

“Even though I was wrongfully accused by Ron, I do feel sorry for him because this is going to follow him for the rest of his career,” McClain said. “I wish him the best of luck with his law school future, but this is going to make it really hard for him.”

McClain also said she is forever affected by the incident as well. Although she was cleared of any wrongdoings, McClain said she is required to disclose the incident to the bar, which will then proceed with an investigation which can take up to one year.

“I’m going to have to apply early for the board and they’re going to investigate [the incident] before I can be admitted,” McClain said. “Normally people apply their sophomore and junior year [of law school], but because of this I have to start my freshman year.” 

Lee declined to comment as of press time.

McClain said she has planned to continue her involvement with ASPSU by applying to be a chief justice for next year’s J-board. She also started a new student group, Portland Animal Welfare, which will serve as a resource for students with animals. The group was recently approved by SALP.

“I’m really excited—law is going to be my career but animals are really my passion,” McClain said.

McClain and the PLS will be on hand when the chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court speaks on campus on May 7, an event they will help put together.