Senators, Audience Members React to AAS Impeachment Trial

After first-year senator Oscar Gosling ’27 resigned during his impeachment trial, the AAS’ second in less than a year, Gosling, senators, and spectators reflected on the trial and what it suggested about the state of the AAS.

Association of Amherst Students (AAS) Senator Oscar Gosling ’27 resigned during the opening statement of his impeachment trial on Oct. 11, just a week after the first-year senators were sworn into office. The impeachment trial, the AAS’ second in less than a year, has prompted concern from some students about the AAS’ ability to continue to function effectively.

The impeachment proceedings were initiated by a unanimous vote of the AAS Judiciary Council (JC) after one of Gosling’s associates used a class-wide email list to distribute the voting ballot for the class of 2027 Senate elections. The use of email lists for the purpose of campaigning is prohibited by the AAS constitution.

The trial played out before a packed audience in Converse Hall’s Red Room. Gosling launched into a fiery rebuke of the AAS, describing the student senate as a “corrupt” and “illegitimate” body that was wasting Amherst students’ time and resources over minor infractions. For those reasons, Gosling claimed he could not work with the AAS any longer and announced his resignation.

With regard to the charges of the impeachment petition, Gosling said it was not his idea to send a campaign email to the class of 2027 and that he did not know the email was going to be sent. He added that he did not know using an email list was against the rules because the AAS Elections Committee did not inform candidates of campaign rules prior to the election.

“We weren’t even aware there was a constitution, as freshmen,” he said.

After resigning, Gosling stormed out of the Red Room to a chorus of laughs and cheers from the crowd. In the aftermath, students expressed their amusement at the situation.

“I think it’s hilarious,” said Caden Stockwell ’25, the AAS’ minutes-taker. “I think there is some truth to his statement, but I think it’s funny,” he added.

AAS senators who spoke to The Student, however, expressed their disappointment in the situation. “I think it was classless,” AAS Senator Isabella Malmqvist ’25 said of Gosling’s behavior.

AAS Senator Thomas O’Connor ’26 felt similarly. “I don’t think his intentions were in the right place,” he said.

Some senators were especially disconcerted by the fact that Gosling resigned in the public setting of the trial when he had been offered the chance to do so privately.

“He’s blaming us for a circus when he could have resigned and avoided the circus entirely,” O’Connor said.

Gosling later explained that he was upset that JC chair Jaimie Han ’26 sent out a school-wide email announcing the impeachment trial on Monday, Oct. 9 without informing him they were going to do so.

“I was given no warning that the email would be sent to the entire school,” Gosling said. He suggested that the school-wide email was unduly damaging to his reputation since it did not give the details of the constitutional violations with which he was charged.

“That can lead the recipient list of 1,900 to believe I did whatever comes to mind,” Gosling said. “It gave no opportunity for the context of [the situation], being simply an email.”

Han said that she was following precedent from last year’s impeachment trial of then-AAS President Sirus Wheaton ’23 (who was ultimately acquitted by the Senate), when then-AAS Judiciary Chair Alex Jabor ’23 sent out a similar school-wide email. “I just simply used his email as a template and replaced Sirus’ name with Oscar’s,” Han said.

Han added that the point of her school-wide email was not to publicize allegations, but simply to announce the impending trial to the student body. The email, she said, “is in no way JC approving or believing the allegations in that petition to be true. It's just that we found some sort of claim in there that had valid grounds to be heard.”

Hedley Lawrence-Apfelbaum ’26, Elections Committee chair, dismissed Gosling’s complaints about not knowing of the AAS constitution.

“We have our website. We have our constitution,” he said. “The constitution has a section on elections procedure and election rules that is very clearly laid out and in the past that has served all candidates who are running very well.”

Han also defended the constitutional rule outlawing the use of email lists for campaign purposes. “If we didn't have this rule, imagine just getting spam classified emails from your fellow students. I think that’s why it’s a fine rule,” she said.

A special election will be held to fill Gosling’s seat, which is open after his resignation. Han asserted that Gosling is eligible to run again for his seat if he wishes to do so. “I’m deciding that the constitution is in the spirit of second chances,” she said.

In the wake of the second trial in less than a year, members of the AAS lamented that the organization has become associated with dramatic impeachments.

“I like the term ‘AAS’ a lot more than ‘Senate,’ because I think at its core, that's what we are. Amherst students doing things on behalf of other Amherst students,” O’Connor said. “I think what we do is actually very important, and it’s sad that a lot of people know us for just impeaching.”

Both Han and Lawrence-Apelfbaum said they hope they can use this as a learning experience. Han says that she wants to add an intermediary stage to the impeachment process so that “we can have a conversation with the parties involved and think about a compassionate way to go about this that doesn’t humiliate either party.”

“We also do not want to be a source of spectacle and this is really going to encourage us to try to abate that in the future,” Lawrence-Apfelbaum added.

Gosling, for his part, said that he understands this is how politics sometimes shapes out, and that he hopes to get involved with student groups outside of the AAS.

“Sometimes it’s not that deep,” he said. “It’s just a little too serious on the things that don’t matter. If I could say one sound bite, let’s make it about representation of students and not about representation of government.”