Cole Ledford, former president of the Interfraternity Council, was impeached Wednesday after promoting the campaign of Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidate Abby Grossman and vice-presidential candidate Abby Waidelich on the official IFC Twitter account.
According to its website, the IFC is “the coordinating and governing body for all 34 of The Ohio State University’s general and social fraternities.”
Ledford, a third-year in business real estate, supported Grossman and Waidelich in the 2015 USG election. He took to Twitter, posting tweets and pictures endorsing the presidential hopefuls.
His personal account, which includes a picture of him posing with the women, received dozens of retweets and favorites from others showing their support.
But then, three weeks ago, he logged into the official IFC Twitter handle and changed it into an account supporting the Grossman-Waidelich campaign, Ledford said in an email.
“I made this decision without consulting my executive board members or any other members of the USG Campaign,” he said. “I was the only one involved in, or aware of, this decision.”’
Ledford said he made this choice after looking at the platforms of both running parties and chose the one he felt would most benefit the entire IFC community.
Grossman and Waidelich won the election, announced Thursday night.
Ledford also added that the changes to the account were meant to be temporary.
“After the election, I planned to transition the account back to it’s (sic) original use of IFC,” he said.
But with his choice to go around the executive board members and chapter presidents of the IFC, Ledford found himself faced with the threat of impeachment. According to Article X, Section B, subsection 1 of the IFC constitution, “An impeached officer is officially accused of conduct unbecoming of an IFC officer and shall be sent to the IFC general body for the case to be heard.”
Ledofrd said he feels remorse for his actions.
“I am so incredibly sorry for my actions and the negative effects it may have had to the Greek Community and all of Ohio State,” he said. “I most sincerely apologize for breaking the trust of the IFC Chapter presidents and will continue to work to better myself and the community in the future.”
Robert Gomez, vice president of administration and interim president of the IFC, explained the governing body’s ruling in an email.
“The General Body lost confidence in Cole after his unauthorized and inappropriate use of the official IFC Twitter account,” he said. “Elections for a permanent replacement will be held at the next General Body meeting on Wednesday, March 25.”
Gomez, a fourth-year in industrial systems engineering, said IFC plans to continue to represent the entire Greek community at OSU and beyond.
“The Interfraternity Council at Ohio State will continue to strive to represent its chapters and the Greek community as a whole not only in a positive light but as one of the leading fraternity councils in the nation,” he said.
The ruling from the IFC did not involve any input from OSU, said Dave Isaacs, spokesman for Student Life.
“My understanding is that IFC is dealing with it, and that’s the way it should be with student organizations,” Isaacs said in an email. “They are a self-governing organization, and it’s good that they take accountability seriously.”
Celia Wright, the current president of USG and a fourth-year in public health, declined to comment on the situation, citing a lack of information and a desire to be fair to all parties involved.
Grossman and Waidelich, the USG candidates Ledford endorsed on Twitter, said they had no comment on the IFC’s impeachment decision.
In a joint statement sent in an email, the candidates said Ledford had been their friend since their first year in college and said he wanted to help them run the campaign.
“Cole was delegated the duty of creating (a) campaign account the night of our kickoff,” they said.
Grossman and Waidelich said they removed Ledford from access to the campaign account, and investigated the situation upon learning of the allegations that he had used the IFC account to benefit their campaign.
USG presidential candidate Michelle Bennett and vice-presidential candidate Noel Fisher did not respond to email requests for comment.