Allegations of sexual misconduct have emerged against Student Association President Howard Brookins, prompting SA cabinet members and several student organizations to call for his resignation. We agree – he should leave the organization.
The editorial board of Volume 116 endorsed Brookins for the presidency last year based on platform points and promises made, but we cannot continue to support him. He has shown disregard for his now-departed cabinet members and friend who bravely shared her story of sexual misconduct.
The Hatchet’s editorial board believes women who come forward with allegations of assault and survivors. We are rescinding our endorsement of Brookins and urging for him to exit his post.
It took courage for the student to come forward with her personal and deeply sensitive story and share it, publicly, with the GW community. Student leaders must be held accountable for their actions, as people have bravely done in the past. Brookins has a responsibility to the survivors, the GW community and the integrity of his office, to step down from his position and allow the community and survivors to heal from his alleged actions.
The SA represents all students. It is unacceptable for that body to be led by someone who is claimed to have committed atrocious actions against women and against the people he is charged to represent and work alongside. The leader of the body intended to represent all students cannot be someone who is accused of sexual misconduct. The SA is a student advocacy body and has fought to protect students from sexual violence. Brookins’ actions undermine the work of the SA and its ability to represent students.
The SA president also has a responsibility to act as a liaison between the GW community and officials and the Board of Trustees. Brookins’ alleged actions do not represent all students and should not be tolerated. The GW student body is comprised of a wide variety of people, including women and those who have been survivors of sexual assault and harassment. For Brookins to continue representing the student body with these allegations, he is insulting and disregarding the experiences of women and survivors of sexual assault.
It is important that the GW community believes survivors and supports the members of the community who have been directly and indirectly affected by Brookins. The first way to start doing that is to remove the source of the problem from office. Brookins needs to take accountability for his actions, allow the SA to move forward representing the GW community and heal.
The student body deserves better, survivors deserve better and the GW community deserves better.
Brookins must resign immediately.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Hannah Thacker and contributing opinions editor Andrew Sugrue, based on discussions with managing director Kiran Hoeffner-Shah, managing editor Parth Kotak, sports editor Emily Maise, culture editor Anna Boone and design editor Olivia Columbus.
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