Senate Step downs
This spring semester took off with a bang for Student Senate, coming off of last semesters final piece of passed legislation permitting the beginning of the creation of the Center for Engaged Learning. Despite this triumph, senate lost three members since the beginning of the year, Justin Wilhite who held the position for Concerned Black Students, Davane Goins who held the position for the Residence Hall Association, and Sean Doyle who served as the freshman class president.
Goins shared his resignation statement saying, “it was an honor to sit on senate for the length of time that I did, and I thank the Residence Hall Association for allowing me the opportunity to represent them with voice and vote on Senate.” However, he indicated he would not disclose his reasons for leaving his senate position.
Doyle, the former freshman class president did open up about his reasons for resigning, citing both his academic performance and the activities of senate as cause for his stepping down.
Most of Doyle’s discontent revolved around the handling of the Center for Engaged Learning (CEL) Project.
“A fundamental proposal was that of ‘The Center for Engaged Learning’… It was well intentioned and well thought out, but by no means was it the product of listening to the voice of the people and ensured transparency,” stated Doyle.
“Once all the pomp and circumstance had subsided, I was brought into the reality of life on Student Senate,” wrote Doyle in his open resignation letter. “I enjoyed the first month or so, but as time moved forward, I began to comprehend the sizeable disconnect between the people and those elected to represent them.”
“I began to realize that Student Senate had a conceited idea that what they were doing was aligned with what the people wanted, despite the infrequent references to constituents’ voices or opinions,” continued Doyle. “ My concerns and counter-arguments were often ignored or shot down, and I felt that I couldn’t do my job…it became clear that something needed to be done to fix this disconnect and dysfunction in Senate, and in my position at the time, the effort was futile”
Zach Lough, president of student senate stated that the idea for CEL had been brought to Senate’s attention by Senior Class President AJ Burt, who based it off of “an existing proposal put together by Jon Duraj and a few others.”
“The entire process was kept behind closed doors and in closed sessions, talking to constituents was discouraged but most importantly it ran on the presumption that it was what the people wanted and needed,” stated Doyle. “Much to the opposition of Senate, I still talked to 50 or more of my constituents to see how they felt: not one of them thought the idea was in alignment to what they thought money should be spent on and allocated to here at Wittenberg.”
Lough stated that there was an open invitation sent to the student body welcoming them into the discussion, however few showed. Making the proposal publically available followed this email.
“We didn’t conduct a survey because response rite isn’t always the best,” said Lough. “This is why it is so important to be a part of voting in elections and knowing who your student leaders are because, in the end, they are spending your money.”
Wilhite was succeed by Muata Howard, Goins was succeed by Ryan Roark, and Doyle’s successor was decided Monday in a special election.