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Class of 2022 senator resigns

Class of 2022 Senator Alex Chang ’22 resigned after delivering a speech to 12 senators at the weekly Senate meeting on Sunday. In his remarks, he blamed the atmosphere of the Student Union for his departure. Chang emphasized that his decision was a result of the recall of former International Student Senator Linfei Yang ’20, which Chang called a “political hit job.”

After arriving halfway through the Senate meeting, Chang read prepared remarks from his computer to the Senate, which he later shared with his constituents and The Brandeis Hoot in an email. After Vice President Aaron Finkel ’20 clarified that Chang would have to provide written notice of his resignation, Chang wrote on a piece of notebook paper, “Dear Mr. Vice President, I hearby [sic] resign from my position as Senator to the Class of 2022 -Alex Chang.”
Chang’s statements referenced his piano project, a Senate Money Resolution (SMR) that faced difficulty being passed in the senate. He publicly complained over the project’s delay on Facebook, sparking tensions between Chang and the then-Vice President of the Student Union, Benedikt Reynolds ’19, who later resigned.

In his speech, Chang said, “The removal of Linfei Yang from office was a clandestinely coordinated, carefully calculated, political hit job, which was manufactured, orchestrated and spearheaded by the opponents of the piano project.”
Yang was removed after Senators Kent Dinlenc ’19 and Leigh Salomon ’19 circulated a petition through the international student body. The university registrar verified 110 signatures out of the total 128, and with 15.2 percent of the international student body signing, the recall was set in motion. Yang contests the verification process, saying it might have only consisted of verifying that the emails listed on the petition were correct rather than verifying that each student actually signed the petition.

Yang contests the recall results, saying he is still the International Student Senator. Over two-thirds of the voting international student body voted for Yang’s recall. Yang, however, claims that two-thirds of the entire international student body, or 484 students, had to vote for his recall.

Earlier this week, the Judiciary interpreted the Constitution as requiring only two-thirds of the voting body for a recall vote, after reconsidering their initial interpretation of two-thirds of the international student body.

In an interview with The Hoot, Yang said, “I will remain as the International Student Senator in my full capacity until the end of this term. However,” Yang continued, “Because of the toxic environment that has currently permeated the Senate completely, as Alex has also said, I’m going to be temporarily staying away from Union meetings in general.”

Yang said he would continue to go about his other duties as senator. He would not clarify when he would return to the Union. Both Chang and Yang say the vote to recall Yang was illegitimate, but a special election will be held to replace Yang and fill other Union positions, as was discussed in the Sunday Senate meeting.

Chang’s speech continued, “Throughout the long and complex saga of our piano project, Linfei helped me every step of the way, providing me with invaluable advice, assistance and support. As a freshman who had just joined this organization, and as someone with little experience in navigating the very complicated and oftentimes confusing environment of this Student Union, I found in Linfei not just an ally, not just a mentor, but a friend.”

He continued, “And when I saw this friend of mine have his reputation dragged through the mud and subsequently forced out of office, in what can only be described as a gross display of petty political vengeance, I was not only disgusted but disappointed.”

Chang then apologized to the student body, his constituents and to Finkel. He also criticized Finkel for not defending Yang.

After his speech, Senator for Massell Quad Kendal Chapman ’22 responded to Chang. “I extend my sympathies to you because I think you did face a lot of unfair treatment,” she said. “But there’s a difference between rising above it and wallowing in it and listening to other people telling you what went wrong.”

“Please do not think that you are completely unexcused in this,” she continued. “And you do admit it, and I appreciate that, but there’s a difference from admitting it and growing from it. I hope in the future we can work together, and I’d love to hear your ideas so we can still get them implemented but recognize the fact that you were not completely removed from this, and there was a reason that Linfei was recalled and it was not pettiness.”

Chang spoke to The Brandeis Hoot about the moment he realized he wanted to resign, saying winter break gave him time to reflect on the Senate and that when he returned and felt that nothing had changed in the Senate, he decided to resign.

Chang spoke about his announcement to his constituents. “My constituents have been very supportive,” he said. “After the piano thing they knew how much I had gone through.”

Chang and Yang also spoke about their future projects outside the Union. Chang mentioned the Hackathon and Branchan, an image board site Chang moderates, and went on to talk about a “surprise.”

“I have something that I’m working on … but it’s going to be a surprise,” Chang said. He continued, “Brandeis is going to love it, trust me.” Linfei Yang also said he had a surprise. When pressed, the two would not say what their respective surprises entailed.

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