The Student Association Senate passed a resolution late Monday night urging the SA executive branch to apologize for sharing an Instagram post that supports one side of an ongoing foreign war.
The SA reposted, then deleted hours later, an infographic from the GW Armenian Students Association Sunday that indicated support for Armenia, which is embroiled in an ongoing dispute with Azerbaijan. SA Sen. Kate Carpenter, U-at-Large and the sponsor of the resolution, said SA leaders wrongly inserted the organization into a geopolitical issue by sharing the post and asking for students to donate to Armenian war efforts.
The resolution passed by a vote of 17-4, with one abstention.
Carpenter said “several” of her peers notified her and fellow senators of the post and asked that SA leaders apologize for placing themselves in a two-sided issue.
“A friend that is Azerbaijani had their brother deployed yesterday to the front lines, literally yesterday, and then this post came right after their brother was deployed,” Carpenter said. “That is frankly so telling, to see your school and Student Association that is supposed to represent you, literally support the other side of a conflict – whatever side you agree with, it’s fine but just to see that happen as that student hurts.”
SA Sen. Megan Freeman, GSEHD-G, said she will work with other senators to create a social media style guide to avoid posting about problems that the entire SA does not back.
“There is still further action to follow up with a guide, with another resolution that directly confronts the executive team’s continual inability to post correctly – we will just leave it at that,” Freeman said.
SA President Howard Brookins said he apologizes and takes the blame on behalf of the executive branch for the sharing of the post. He said he wanted to show support to members of the Armenian Students Association, but he recognizes that the SA should not weigh in on “rapidly developing, current situations.”
“It’s a tough decision to be in, to try to support them but also stay out of an issue,” he said.
SA senators also approved Yan Xu, a freshman in the Elliott School of International Affairs and now member of the finance committee; Jack Bloom, a freshman in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences now serving on the academic affairs committee; and Charlene Richards, a political science and journalism major now serving on the student life committee, as first-year undergraduate senators. Senators also confirmed James Setterland into a CCAS graduate senator position and Lindsey Clos into a graduate-at-large seat.