Two SA vice presidents resign, allege ‘negligent and careless’ work environment

Updated: Jan. 16, 2020 at 8:19 p.m.

Two Student Association vice presidents are resigning “effective immediately,” alleging “inappropriate actions” by the SA president.

Vice President for Campus Operations Anna Weber and Vice President for Academic Affairs Liz Gonzalez submitted their resignations Saturday in an email, which was obtained by The Hatchet, stating that SA President Howard Brookins’ “conduct and demeanor” have limited the progress of the organization. The email did not specify Brookins’ actions, but the email states that a “negligent and careless work environment” in the SA has made it difficult to execute their roles.

“As women, we know it necessary to foster a work environment that is inclusive, empowering and comfortable,” the email states. “The mission of the Student Association is to put students first, and we best feel that our talents and goals are best suited for somewhere else, where we can more effectively collaborate and better the University.”

Weber and Gonzalez declined to comment, deferring to the letter of resignation. Brookins did not immediately return a request for comment.

Eight of the SA executive branch’s 11 vice president positions are now vacant. Per the SA constitution and bylaws, the SA president is responsible for appointing cabinet members and nominating students to fill the Joint Elections Commission – the body that oversees SA elections – but the email states that Brookins has “repeatedly failed” to nominate people to either body.

“This is no coincidence – it is a representation of his character,” Weber and Gonzalez wrote. “We plan to continue our student advocacy work in some other capacity, where we have been able to work collaboratively with administrators, faculty and students alike.”

Catherine Oriel, the SA’s director of graphic design and assistant vice president for public affairs, said in an email, obtained by The Hatchet, later Saturday that she is also resigning from her position, citing “mismanagement” in the cabinet.

“As a woman, I cannot stand by a president who has failed to uplift his duties and empower the women around him,” Oriel said. “It is for these reasons that I am resigning from the executive cabinet.”

Oriel said she will continue to work on student advocacy projects in other forms outside the SA but is urging Brookins to resign.

“I also urge you, given your numerous vacancies and missteps, to resign office and help the GW community move forward,” Oriel said.

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