Two Associated Students members step down
Two board members resign in protest of the 'radicalization' of the AS.
On Wednesday, the Santa Monica College Associated Students Board of Directors called a special meeting to impeach Director of Publicity DJ Davids. The impeachment proceedings turned out to be of minor significance, however, as a deeper divide within AS leadership was exposed.
The move to impeach Davids, on grounds of inappropriate conduct, failed by a narrow margin of only two or three votes, according to AS President Harrison Wills.
Davids will remain on his post, but two other elected members tendered their resignation that same night. Budget Management Director Yian Chen and Academic Support Director William Sun abruptly and emotionally stepped down at the end of the meeting. The directors resigned in protest of the attempted impeachment, and what they see as a radicalization of the AS by Wills and his supporters.
Chen, who is in favor of “Contract Ed,” feels that the AS board has been politically divided, but that members managed to work together. However, Chen’s opinion of AS members having the ability to work in team changed on Monday, when the AS board met with four members of the SMC Board of Trustees (including Student Trustee Joshua Scuteri) for four and a half hours. Yian claims that certain AS members were both disrespectful and confrontational in their meeting with the trustees.
For Chen, the impeachment of Davids caused her to resign. With tears in her eyes, she said of the AS leadership that, “They’re not providing a solution; they’re being emotionally provocative.” She also condemns the harsh rhetoric floating around social media, citing statements such as: “if you don’t participate in the protests, you’re supporting fascism.” This statement has not been independently confirmed by The Corsair.
Chen’s opinion is that some members of the AS leadership and Student Organizing Committee attended the Tuesday Board of Trustees meeting with the intention of provoking a violent reaction from campus police.
Wills acknowledged that the directors left because he was politicizing the AS. “You can’t deny the fact that education is political,” he says. Wills campaigned on being a radical green party member, with the slogan “Put the activist in office.”
Despite disagreements, Wills speaks highly of Chen. “I thought she did a great job; sometimes we had ideology differences, but that’s what we’re here for [sic].”
He feels that the turning point on the board came when conservative member Cameron Espinosa, Director of Student Outreach, gave an apologetic speech in a meeting, and began to vote with the activist members of AS. “When she crossed over, the conservatives felt they lost their voice,” says Wills.
For now, the two seats remain open. After spring break, the remaining board members will interview potential candidates to fill the vacancies.