Re: AS meeting on organization’s constitution sheds light on in-house tensions

Dear Editor in Chief,

Hello, my name is Andrew Koo and this is my 3rd semester here at Santa Monica College. I serve on the Board of Directors as the Director of Activities for the Associated Students. I am writing this letter to you because I wanted to communicate and provide another perspective on Sonali Bridges, Associate Dean of the Associated Students.

My experiences with Dean Bridges have been very productive and insightful. I have gained so much from working with her on the A.S. Activities Meeting, which I chair, discussing how to plan events for the students of SMC, and working with her in the office.
Dean Bridges is the designated advisor for these Activities Meetings. We work together every Tuesday to ensure students and clubs have their events or activities approved. With over dozens upon dozens of approved activities, I make sure clubs or departments proposals are in order and have all the required documents. There has not been a single incident where I had to say no to a club and not provide a alternative or solution for them. Dean Bridges goes out of her way whenever she can to provide permits for clubs to have their events around campus.
There are several vocal people who say Dean Bridges prevents the us, the Board of Directors, from doing our jobs or that she disrupts our board meetings. Personally, I have never felt intruded upon by Dean Bridges when she raises her hand to be acknowledged and then advises us on a certain topic or item. She has the best interest for our success as student leaders, the organization and the Santa Monica College community. It is very easy for people to criticize someone in when they make a simple mistake or has to say no. But she has done so much for the organization that nobody seems to talk about.
For example, I once doubted myself and my capability to put on a certain event, thought it would be impossible to pull off, and simply wanted to move on. However, I communicated  to Dean Bridges about my concerns and we discussed other alternatives. In the end, I was able to put on an event which turned out ten times better than I had originally thought and I owe that success to working with the Dean. She has been consistently supportive to directors and encourages us think about the students first.

She has also been putting countless hours into helping Consent month go smoothly and using her resources to make sure we have a successful month. She works with Daniel Kolko, Caitlin Corker, and the consent month team to educate students and spread awareness about sexual assault in the SMC community.

There are passionate and excited directors who are more vocal than others, and sometimes their ideas for projects or events can be unrealistic. When Dean Bridges communicates to them ahead of time in an effectively manner about a project or event that cannot happen, some directors tend to take it personally and lash out. If and when a time comes where Dean Bridges has to say no, she never leaves it at that note. Not only has she been professional and effective in communicating what needs to happen, she provides ample alternatives or solutions to what else could be done in order to have an event.

I hope this letter has communicated and provided you an insightful and realistic perspective on Dean Bridges. I can firmly place my trust in her and know she will fully support me during my time in the Associated Students

Thank you.