A.S. Vice President Resigns

 Edgar Gonzalez raises his Megaphone in the air along with other protesters raising their arms to show the strength they have to fight for DACA and against discrimination. The students chant phrases like "No papers, no fear" and "Undocumented, unafraid" in front of Santa Monica College's library on main campus, Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by: Thane Fernandes)

Edgar Gonzalez raises his Megaphone in the air along with other protesters raising their arms to show the strength they have to fight for DACA and against discrimination. The students chant phrases like "No papers, no fear" and "Undocumented, unafraid" in front of Santa Monica College's library on main campus, Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by: Thane Fernandes)

The Associated Students of Santa Monica College announced a new vacancy last Thursday on Feb. 12, 2018, after A.S. Vice President Edgar Gonzalez stepped down from his position.

Gonzalez did not immediately make this decision, as multiple factors led to his decision to step down over the course of the last few months. “Well, it was more of like a mental thing, mental stability, cause I was feeling a little down. I kind of suffer from depression. So, I tried to commit suicide during the winter, like twice. I don’t know, it was just too much for me to handle,” Gonzalez said. Along with dealing with mental health issues, he also recalled times spent in the AS office where he did not feel as though he could be himself, “I just want to be myself… It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of tension and, I don’t know, I couldn’t handle it.”

The beginning of Gonzalez’s relationship with A.S. began in the spring semester of 2017 when his friends encouraged him to run for the vice president position, as he has had a history of being a very involved student throughout his SMC career. Recalling back to the A.S. candidate debate that took place in the spring semester of 2017, Gonzalez said, “I remember when I did the speech, everyone was promising stuff. And I’m just like, I’m going to be there for the students.”

Following Gonzalez being elected into the A.S. office as the vice president, he organized a rally in support of SMC DACA students, which he considered to be one of his biggest successes during his time in office. “I was saying that the school wasn’t doing enough for DACA students, which it wasn’t. It wasn’t until the march that [SMC] actually started putting stuff online and doing all this stuff for the undocumented students.”

Although Gonzalez thought positively of the SMC students' response to the Trump administration's efforts to eliminate DACA, the organized on-campus protests had adverse effects on him. “I remember [after] I did the DACA protest, I didn’t want to go to the office, I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel secure because people were telling me oh, Nancy Grass is mad at you, other board members are mad at you.” Gonzalez also said, “You have to play a part of like, you have to make the school look good.” He felt he had too many restrictions in what he could or could not do during his position as the A.S. Vice President, as he wanted to be more directly involved with the students at SMC, “My comrades, you know, they do an amazing job and we all try to do amazing work. It’s just sometimes we can’t really do what we want to do.”

Jennifer Chen, A.S. President, found out about Gonzalez’s resignation prior to the AS Board meeting held on Feb. 12, which he did not attend. “I was shocked that he resigned … I didn’t ask much because, you know, it’s private,” Chen said.

The Corsair was unable to reach Dr. Nancy Grass, the A.S. adviser, for comment regarding Gonzalez’s resignation.

The application for the vacant A.S. vice president position is now available online on the A.S. website, with the deadline being on Wednesday, March 7 at 9 a.m. The election for the vacant position will be held on Monday, March 12 during the weekly A.S. Board meeting at 3 p.m. on SMC’s main campus at the Cayton Center.