Student Union Vice President resigns

November 1, 2019

Student Union Vice President Guillermo Caballero ’20 resigned on Sunday during the Student Union Senate meeting. His resignation was effective as of Tuesday Oct. 29 at 4 p.m.

Executive Senator Jake Rong ’21 has taken over as interim vice president and at the Senate meeting, Senator-at-Large Nancy Zhai ’22 was voted to be interim executive senator. 

Caballero’s resignation comes after he and Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees Zosia Busé ’20 brought complaints against Student Union President Simran Tatuskar ’21 to the Student Union Judiciary. Tatuskar was found guilty of violating the Union’s Code of Conduct by effectively communicating across the branches and unconstitutionally interpreted the duties of the executive senator, according to an earlier Brandeis Hoot article. 

“I joined the Student Union with the goal of bringing all branches and members closer together. I knew our Union is not as united as it should be, so I believed that I was going to accomplish my goal by empowering all members and by making sure that everyone felt capable of holding their office duties and felt included,” said Caballero in his announcement to the Senate on Sunday.  “Even though many Student Union members made me feel as a part of this Union, as a newer member with new ideas and ways to work, I still struggle with feeling sincerely welcomed by our established members. I gave a lot of thought on whether I wanted to continue working for the Union to build the body I envisioned. However, my work has been hindered by several obstacles but especially by being under the supervision of people that do not share the same values and visions as I do.” 

According to Caballero, his “landslide win” in the vice presidential election as a non-Union member was evidence that anyone could be elected, regardless of his or her background, he told The Hoot. He said that there’s been a “180-degree change” in the way that the Senate functions and the way that the members interact since he was elected. 

“I leave my seat hoping to have clearly dispersed the message of equal opportunity for everyone and trust that every member of the Student Union is equally as capable of doing any role in their respective capacity regardless of [if they have as much] experience as everyone else,” said Caballero.

Class of 2020 Senator and Chair of the Rules Committee Scott Halper ’20 brought forward a censure against Caballero that condemned his lack of communication with his other Union members and called on him to change his communication in the future. Caballero said that he made his decision to resign “long before” he learned about the censure and that he was informed about the censure a day before his announcement.

“The judiciary found multiple incidences of [Tatuskar] violating the constitution and the code of conducts and the bylaws, but, there was a section that was reserved for [Caballero],” said Halper to The Hoot. “We felt that we should bring this up, and we should address this. However, we had to act in proportion to what was said, and we had to act in proportion to the opinion of the judiciary.”

Caballero told The Hoot that he “was thinking of resigning under the pressure of the conflict” but decided that he would petition the Judiciary before he would resign. He said that there is still a lot of work to be done in the Union, but since he is now a senior and he has personal matters to attend to, he won’t be able to drive the change that he hopes to see.

“I think that there’s still a lot that the Student Union has to bring to light in terms of the way that people work and how people are welcomed in the body itself and how some people are more elitist than others,” said Caballero. “That’s a long process to change, and for time constraints, I’m not going to be able to do that. I felt that my job was done.”

The Student Union will hold special elections in the next few weeks to fill the role of the vice president. The Student Union will be holding an info session from 7 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 5, a “Meet the Candidates” event from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 and a candidate debate from 9 to 10 p.m. on Nov. 12.

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