James Feng ’22, the former Student Union secretary, was impeached from his position on Oct. 27 due to neglect of his responsibilities, according to a previous Hoot article. Feng believed that the other members of the Student Union chose to hold him accountable for his mistakes that he made due to internal political bias. A thorough description of Feng’s impeachment can be found in the Hoot article covering his impeachment and an article covering an interview with Feng.
However, our current concern is not with Feng; he is gone from the Union, and we wish him well. We would like to turn our attention to the rest of the Union. In the original email that went out to the student body, did no one else in the union see the mistake that occurred? It is the duty of the president to oversee what goes on in the union, and either prevent or mitigate these kinds of errors. This includes checking whether the proper seats will be filled. This begs the question: what was going on in the time between when the original mistake was made and now, when the special elections were actually held? There was around a month-and-a-half-long period where clubs on campus were without emergency funding. Almost every single club on campus relies on the Allocations Board (A-board) for funding, so the breadth of this issue is very wide. We know of many cases in which either reimbursement fees have gone unpaid for months or clubs that need emergency funding haven’t received it. If it took the Union a month and a half to find out about this issue, then that was negligence on the part of Student Union leadership. But if they knew about the issue, what were they doing during this month and a half? Why were special elections not conducted sooner? It appears as though action to conduct elections to fill the vacant A-board spots only happened after Feng was gone.
In response to this, The Brandeis Hoot conducted an email interview with members of the Student Union. One of the questions asked was whether Feng asked to host a third round of special elections in early October prior to his impeachment to make up for his previous mistakes, and whether the request was turned down or not despite A-board saying that they needed assistance. The Student Union dodged the question by claiming that they “are focused on the future and choose to move forward.” Moreover, they never directly answered whether or not Feng proposed to host a third round of elections in early October. Instead, they stated that they would hold “an election to fill the vacant position of Secretary as well as fill open Allocations board seats concluded on Nov. 4 and we are excited to see so many candidates seeking to join the Student Union.” Moreover, when questioned whether an ultimatum was presented to Feng on whether he would have to “resign or face impeachment” on Sunday Oct. 3, they again deflected to a “Statement” that never directly answered the question.
After numerous issues with the Union in the last few years, many current members ran on the platform of transparency. Now we ask where is that transparency? Why is the Union refusing to answer these questions under the pretense of “focusing on the future?” How can we trust the union with our future if they are unable to own up to the mistakes of the past? We urge the Union to be honest with its constituents; as it stands now, the Union gets a vote of no confidence from us. We strongly urge the Union to respond to these issues.
Editor’s note: News Editor Victoria Morrongiello did not contribute to the writing of this editorial.