A problematic explanation: Critiquing a resignation and its implications for College Council

October 7, 2015 by The Williams Record Editorial Board

In light of the recent resignation of Jesús Espinoza ’16 from College Council (CC), we at the Record have several concerns regarding his emailed statement and its implications for CC. Though we understand that personal matters sometimes must take priority over other commitments, Espinoza’s explanation and wording in the email he sent to the student body were cursory and unapologetic, and they undermined CC and its efforts to increase both participation in the student government and its credibility.

We at the Record take issue with the nature and content of Espinoza’s resignation email. His email was short and failed to offer an apology. It contained no mention of the new burden now placed on CC President Marcus Christian ’16. This lack of mention is a disservice to Christian, who now will lead CC as the sole president. Espinoza’s resignation not only let the student body down but also left Christian in the difficult position of having to choose between selecting a new co-president or shouldering the responsibilities of CC president alone. When the student body elected Espinoza and Christian last spring, it elected them as a joint ticket, with the expectation that they would carry out the duties of co-president together.

Unlike Christian, Espinoza had served on CC before he was elected as co-president and had experience with the workings of the organization. It is thus troubling that he cites the “exhausting bureaucracy” as one of his two main reasons for stepping down, as he should have been familiar with the nature of CC before seeking out and taking on the role of co-president. While we at the Record completely understand that it is sometimes necessary to step down from a position if a person feels he or she can no longer complete that job to the best of his or her ability, Espinoza’s emailed resignation did not convey this sort of motivation behind his actions.

Espinoza seems to blame CC for his decision to step down, which is a great disservice to the organization that he was supposedly committed to improving. Since CC has had issues with participation, Espinoza’s resignation and the negative way in which he described the organization may set CC back even further in its efforts to be a more reputable group on campus. His using the phrase “exhausting bureaucracy” to describe CC also will not help the organization encourage more people to run for CC positions. Espinoza’s seemingly nonchalant emailed resignation also sets a dangerous precedent for future presidents and other CC representatives, as it makes stepping down from a CC position seem somewhat easy and without consequence.

We at the Record do not feel that it is unreasonable to expect that Espinoza, the person students elected to serve them, should be more answerable to the community. The student body elected Espinoza at a time when the College community had little faith in CC, in hopes that he would play a large role in helping to improve the organization and resolve many of its issues. By stepping down and citing CC as a main reason for leaving, it seems as though Espinoza has given up on this endeavor.

Espinoza’s resignation marks the third time in the last 10 years that a CC president or co-president has resigned. While it is alarming that resignation is such a frequent occurrence, there should be a better, more democratic procedure in place to deal with a president’s resignation. We at the Record believe that CC should modify the bylaws to require that any new CC appointments be voted on by the student body. Though Christian has chosen not to select a new co-president, should any future CC president be in a similar position and choose to select a new co-president, his or her appointment should then be accepted or rejected by a campus-wide vote to ensure that the student body approves of the potential new president.

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