Final meeting of school year for A.S. airs out internal conflicts

Inter-Club Council Vice Chair Courtney King tearfully resolved "I can't go in the office, like it's so heavy with all the things people are saying about me behind my back." Sustainability director Andrea Gonzalez echoed the feeling of negative attitudes within the Santa Monica College Associated Students office, saying she too knows of things other directors are saying of her.

Dean of Student Life Deyna Hearn said, "This is the real problem here." She addressed an incident in which someone posted the word "CUNT" on activities director Andy Koo's office desktop, saying she believes it was internal.

"You've got a person in here who's part of your board who's hurting," she said. "It was you guys, many of you caused it."

This was a special meeting on civility put together by Hearn and Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Tuitasi after internal reports of tensions among the board. Hearn addressed the need to form the public meeting as being careful to avoid committing a Brown Act violation by holding a meeting of all or most of the board without a public record.

Hearn addressed the board members in attendance telling them that people are watching them as leaders, addressing two recent letters to the editor from board members in The Corsair. "Stay out of the newspaper in negative ways, stop throwing each other under the bus," she said. "Sit down and just have a woman to woman, man to man conversation with each other, can you do that?"

Hearn stresses the importance of respecting each other and their views and making sure to not burn any bridges. "You may need a letter of recommendation from the very person you called a cunt," said Hearn.

Advocacy director TK Flory referred to the meeting as "bullshit" and "candy coating," saying it's "ironic to talk about civility" when he doesn't "feel safe leaving [certain directors] alone with someone who's supposed to be in charge." He said "It would be more appreciated if the tone was about getting to the root problem."

Dr. Gabriel Crenshaw was hired by the AS in the beginning of the semester to address tensions on the board that stemmed from incidents last semester, reportedly holding regular synergy meetings with board members. Tuitasi noted several problems that included colleague interaction, relationships "gone awry," and "comparison of struggles."

The central conflict many noted in the meeting was between Koo and King, who at the end of the meeting reached a resolve after they each noted the other refused their apologies prior. King said "Hey Andy, do you want to have a sword fight?"

"Like we did in the fall?" asked Koo. "That was awesome."

As the meeting adjourned, each board member present resolved to be civil. Shortly after adjournment, another argument broke out between some of the directors.

ICC Communications Officer Rizwan Rashid, chose not to attend the meeting saying "it’s literally no action items, no proposals, no money being transferred [...] no proper discussion of anything AS related, it’s the administration talking down to [the AS]."