Letter to the editor: Setting the record straight on A.S.

As the semester comes to a close and finals are waiting for us just around the corner, I feel that this is the appropriate time to reflect on the year that we’ve experienced and shed light on what has truly been happening up in the A.S. office. My name is Maya Kaitel, and I am your Inter Club Council Chair. At the beginning of the year, the A.S. had what we thought would be a perfectly functional board. Of course, things happen and people show their true colors and that brings us to where we are now. I’d like to offer some insight as to where that is. The ICC just had our social, which was a fairytale tea party. I was given the task to take over the tea party, as the Vice Chair, who traditionally has the job of planning the social, would not be able to attend. Many people were upset that the Vice Chair would not be able to attend a party that she had planned. When I was given the task approximately 72 hours from the event, the arrangements were as follows:

Food: 100 croissants, hot water

Music: Silent disco headsets that had no contract and no playlist

Decorations: A few strings of roses, mugs and tablecloths that our rental company had informed me were out of stock.

For those who attended the social, they can attest to the following arrangements at the party:

Food: Finger sandwiches, assorted cakes, assorted cookies, brownies, cinnamon buns, hot tea, iced tea, and chocolates

Music: DJ services provided by the A.S. Director of Instructional Support

Decorations: Tablecloths, centerpieces, glitter and candy, strings of lights, strings of roses, mugs, and small potted plants

The social used nearly $1,000 less than what it had been budgeted for.

Draw what conclusions you may, these are simply the facts.

From the view of an A.S. Director, there is more to consider than a party and who planned what and who was or was not able to attend. Recently, I have seen absurd claims that the A.S. Advisor and Associate Dean of Student Life, Dean Bridges, psychologically abuses directors, lures them into her office only to berate them, and does not follow through on her promises. You have all heard this viewpoint, now allow me to offer mine.

I do not see Dean Bridges simply as an administrator- I see her as what an administrator should strive to be.

Dean Bridges does not “psychologically abuse” the directors, she provides us with a safe environment to talk about what is bothering us and comforts us with encouragements to follow our hearts and trust in our own instincts. Dean Bridges has empowered not only me, but also many other members of the A.S. Board as well to grow as leaders and as individuals. I have never once seen a time where Dean Bridges has rejected an idea or an event without putting in every effort to see if it is possible first.

To take someone who has brought nothing but positive energy, innovation, inspiration and clear communication to the A.S. and to slander her with such harsh and blatantly false accusations is not something that I can consider acceptable. Even this, though, is something that I can consider a crime of passion, and though it is unacceptable, it is- to some extent- understandable.

What is not understandable and completely inexcusable is to drag in the personal life of another student and fellow director simply to further one’s own hateful tirade. In the Fall semester, there were rumors that an A.S. Director had tried to commit suicide due to pressure that Dean Bridges had placed on them. These rumors were fueled by a misinformed Director, and have since been dispelled.

The person who was rumored to have made an attempt on their own life came forth and acknowledged these rumors, making it abundantly clear that they did not try to harm themselves in any way, and that Dean Bridges did nothing but help and support this individual. They went on to say that they did not appreciate these harsh and hurtful rumors being spread about them,  and understandably so. To someone with a history of depression, these type of rumors can trigger the sort of reaction that no one wants to think about. To bring these rumors back- rumors that the entire A.S. Board as well as readers of the Corsair know to be both false and malicious- is unforgivable.

We as student leaders have no right to reopen old wounds that could potentially cause dire harm to the students we were elected to represent. The health and safety of SMC students is a priority that must be placed above personal agendas. Those who do not realize this are not equipped with the maturity and judgment necessary to be student leaders.

I would like to take this as a chance to apologize. I am sorry that the students of Santa Monica College have had to put up with the infighting and drama that has resulted from this year’s board. I am sorry that some members of said board have valued the fights over our students. I am sorry that we have spent valuable time fighting meaningless battles among ourselves instead of finding ways to better serve and represent you. I am confident that we leave you in good hands, and I look forward to the 2015-2016 Board, as I am sure that they will have learned from our mistakes.