Letter to the Editor: Former ASOC Senators speak out

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To the students of Occidental,

As reported in Emily Shugerman’s article April 14, 2015, ten Senators voted to impeach ASOC President Christopher Weeks without the knowledge or consent of the student body. Though President Weeks was impeached, it was the ten Senators who displayed ineffective leadership. This letter is not to condone nor denounce the decision to impeach Weeks, it is an observation of the double standards that have plagued this year’s Senate and have led us to this point.

The effectiveness of past Senates has been rooted in the objectivity, professionalism, and leadership experience of the elected officers. These attributes allowed Senators to conduct respectful debate and make tough decisions. Despite our varied backgrounds and opinions, previous administrations brainstormed, collaborated, and arrived at conclusions that prioritized the interests of the student body. Our personal differences and disagreements did not impede us from responsibly serving the community. Unfortunately, the current Senate lacks the experience and maturity necessary to divorce ideas from people, engage in open, constructive conversation, and enact initiatives for the betterment of the student body.

Senators impeached President Weeks on the grounds of constitutional violations. They subsequently turned a blind eye to the constitution, and appointed an interim president who lacks the constitutionally mandated Senate experience. They held President Weeks accountable to the governing document, yet failed to uphold it themselves.

President Weeks’ tenure was certainly not perfect and we recognize that he may have failed to communicate effectively. But if Senators demand full transparency from their president, then they too must strive to be transparent. President Weeks’ alleged transgressions were not communicated via email, or formally presented in a Senate meeting before impeachment was brought to vote. Whispering about President Weeks’ conduct instead of communicating concerns to him directly does not indicate a commitment to transparency on the part of the Senators. Senate deemed it necessary to gauge student interest in a campus pub, yet woefully failed to consult the student body before impeaching their democratically elected president. Furthermore, it is dishonest and misleading to suggest President Weeks knew he would be impeached.

As former ASOC Senate members, we are deeply disappointed by the lack of mutual respect among current Senators. The failure to faithfully represent and honor the many voices of their constituents is unacceptable. We need new Senators to encourage debate, not silence different perspectives. Future Senators must lead by example and prevent personal beliefs from standing in the way of effective leadership.

Sincerely,

Former Presidents Nick McHugh ‘15, Margeau Valteau ‘13

Former Vice Presidents Sid Saravat ‘15, Enoch Sowah ‘15, John O’Neill ‘14,

Former Senators Mary Fulham ‘17, Trace Larabee ‘15, Taylor Rowland ‘13 and Alex Miller ’13