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IUSG Student Body President and Vice President push back on ‘biased’ investigation after committee recommends impeachment 

Editor’s note: IUSTV is unable to independently verify some of the evidence cited in the committee’s report, as it remains sealed from the public

The IU Student Government Committee on Oversight and Finance released their report of an eight-week investigation into accusations of antisemitism by current Student Body President Aaliyah Raji and Vice President Marsha Koda. 

In the end, the committee recommended IUSG draft Articles of Impeachment against both officials. 

The committee claims that on recording, which was not made publicly available, Raji admitted to making antisemitic comments. Additionally, while election fraud was not a primary focus of the investigation, the committee claims that Raji and Koda knowingly committed election fraud by submitting their financial statement past due. 

The investigation began in November after resignations from Makiah Pickett, the director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Alex Kaswan, the IUSG Treasurer on Nov. 13, days after five others in the IGNITE administration also resigned. 

In their resignation letter, Pickett and Kaswan said they were concerned with “the organization’s and leadership’s failure to fulfill the purpose of advocating and supporting the entirety of the student body.” 

“In both public and private conversations, it is clear the IUSG President’s rhetoric is blatantly antisemitic, intentionally neglecting the experience of Jewish students on campus,” Pickett wrote in the letter. 

The investigating committee heard testimony from eleven people over three days, and evidence presented to the committee was included in the report. That evidence is made available to the public on the committee’s OneDrive. However, some of the evidence cited remains sealed.  

Raji and Koda claim the committee had predetermined biases against them and said some of the evidence used in the report “has been taken out of context and construed to fit the narrative of illustrating [them] as inefficient leaders.” 

“The same members who are critiquing Marsha and me for our wrongdoings are the same ones who allowed people to publicly attack Marsha and me solely based on our identities,” Student Body President Aaliyah Raji said in a statement to IUSTV News. 

According to the committee’s report, the first accusations of antisemitism against Raji and Koda dates to July of 2023, following the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Affirmative Action.  

On July 1, the IGNITE Administration published a statement on Instagram, directing students to cultural centers. In text messages between senior IUSG executives, some members reportedly noted that the LGBTQ+ Culture Center and Jewish Culture Center at IU were not included in the post. 

When asked about the lack of inclusion of other groups in the statement, Raji reportedly claimed that “Affirmative Action only affected students of color,” and that the issue was not one that “affected Jewish students.” 

The report says Raji was corrected and “made a commitment to further educate herself.” 

The published Instagram post did not include the LGBTQ+ Culture Center and Jewish Culture Center at IU, but there were two additional comments that pointed to those cultural centers. 

On Oct. 10, just days following the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the committee report claims that IU student and former IIPAC president Ethan Fine sent a direct message to the IUSG Instagram account, with concerns over what Fine said was a “lack of response [IUSG] made in regard to issues facing Jewish students on campus.”  

Sealed evidence linked in the committee report claims that in text messages with senior IUSG executives, President Raji texted, “we don’t need to leave them on read we just don’t need to open it,” followed by “[Fine] is always trying to pick something.” 

The report says that Vice President Koda texted a drafted statement, but never replied, reportedly saying in text messages “nah we don’t have to send it” followed by “b—es are crazy.” 

On Oct. 30, at a General Assembly meeting of Congress, IUSG representatives were debating Congress Bill No. 1005, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Sexual Violence Prevention Advocacy Agenda. A representative reportedly voiced concerns over the lack of Islamophobia prevention in a section regarding antisemitism prevention. 

The committee says Makiah Picket testified that, at the meeting, Raji was “irritated about the inclusion of anything involving antisemitism in the document.” Abby Rose, a now-former representative for the Chabad House Jewish Student Center, testified that she discussed recent antisemitic incidents reported on IU’s campus.  

In response, the committee said Raji asked “why is she playing the victim?” referencing Rose. This was labeled as antisemitic by Rose, Fine, and Kaswan.  

“I would like to apologize for the hurtful comment I made in which I referred to a Jewish student as playing the victim,” Raji said in her statement to IUSTV News. “I have taken the time to reflect on the harm done and how my words have hurt others, recognizing the need for personal growth and education.” 

Throughout the investigation, the IGNITE administration voiced concerns over putting the responsibility of preventing antisemitism onto the plate of student leaders. 

In her testimony to the committee, Student Body Vice President Marsha Koda stressed her belief that the “institution is to blame,” and that the issue goes beyond IUSG. 

Pickett, however, fired back, saying in her testimony that Koda was “complicit and negligent,” in addressing Raji’s actions. 

The committee said that the President and Vice President were “reluctant to accept constructive criticism,” adding that the number of resignations shows a “gap” in the administration’s “understanding of diverse groups” on campus. 

Raji acknowledged her own personal biases but said her bias “has never caused [her] to prioritize one group over another, or to ignore any students on this campus.”  

Also in the report are allegations of election violations. Sealed evidence in the report claims that Raji and Koda admitted in text messages “to turning in the financial statement for the campaign past its deadline to the Election Commission.” Turning in financial statements past deadline is a class A election violation according to the IUSG policy. 

This violation would have resulted in an automatic disqualification of the ticket. The report says that the Election Commission cannot excuse late financial statement submissions and any excused candidates are deemed disqualified. 

In the end, the Committee on Oversight and Finance voted 6-1 to submit a recommendation of impeachment of both Raji and Koda to the IUSG Congress. Jack Tyndall was the only no vote. 

IUSTV News contacted all eleven people who testified to the committee during the investigation. Student Body President Aaliyah Raji and Vice President Marsha Koda responded to our requests for a statement.  As for the other nine people listed as witnesses, they either did not agree to an interview or did not respond to requests for comment.

In an effort of transparency, those contacts are listed below:

  • Cooper Tinsley, the acting Chief of Staff for the IGNITE administration 
  • Abigail Garrison, the former Congressional Secretary for the IGNITE administration 
  • Patrick Lee, the former External Co-Chief of Staff for the IGNITE administration 
  • Abby DeArmitt, the former Internal Co-Chief of Staff for the IGNITE administration 
  • Makiah Pickett, the former Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the IGNITE administration 
  • Alex Kaswan, the former Treasurer for the IGNITE administration 
  • Abby Rose, the Chabad Congressional Representative for the 2023-2024 session 
  • Ethan Fine, the former IIPAC President. 
  • Rachel Applefield, the President of Hillel at IU