Aswani celebrates his victory over Hubert Humphrey
Ruthless as the GUSA-SAC battle for power may be, members of George Washington’s Student Association continue to out-politic—and out-paranoid—both organizations. On Friday, after VP of Public Affairs Tabisa Walwema left the SA, GW Hatchet reporter Emily Cahn revealed that it was Walwema’s disgust with SA President Vishal Aswan’s Nixon-eqsue paranoia that prompted her resignation.
Walwema said she could not tolerate Aswani’s fear of campus media and being scolded for trying to do her job – which is to publicize the SA’s achievements and events.
“Yesterday was when I realized that I couldn’t work for you anymore,” Walwema, a sophomore, wrote in her letter of resignation. “Our online conversation was filled with paranoia and distrust – two conditions that I refuse to work under. When it comes to media relations you have to accept that we do need them.”
The letter also includes sections weirdly phrased like a breakup letter (“I have made the mistake of saying yes to you too many times”).
Its content, however, don’t exactly reveal anything about Aswani that we didn’t already know. In fact, Inside the SA blogger Logan Dobson is deservedly patting himself on the back for knowing a Nixon when he sees one.
Back in October, Cahn’s investigative moxie compelled SA Chief of Staff Greta Twombly to shoot off a delightfully reproachful email regarding Aswani’s decision to treat all his execs to a Nationals game—and then reimburse himself with SA funds.
Strangely, Twombly sided with Walwema, according to the GW Patriot—who is not impressed with anyone’s antics, by the by. “A meeting is had, complaints are raised by cabinet members, and, according to The Hatchet, all “are hopeful that the situation will improve,” they write. “Lame.”
I’m not asking for a GUSA scandal to call our own, but like Vox contributor Sam Sweeney, I’m feeling jealous of all the fun the press is having over at GW. Our best hope is that whispers of a Troianometer will goad one feisty Senator into performing another sit-in.
The full text of Walwema’s letter from Inside the SA:
Although I have enjoyed most of my time in the Student Association I have been put in an extremely difficult position today: I have to decide whether or not to continue serving as the Vice President of Public Affairs in the 2008-2009 Student Association. Unfortunately, I cannot continue to work with you or for you.
When one has a leadership role they should be extremely careful. It is not easy to be effective and maintain the balance between being a friend and being dictator. For quite a bit of time, I have struggled to carry out many of your simple requests. In addition to having a 25hour work week next semester, you don’t provide me with any incentive to fit SA into my schedule even though theoretically I could. I want to believe in you and I want to believe in your leadership, but lately I have been scolded for the very things that you want me to do.
Yesterday was when I realized that I couldn’t work for you anymore. Our online conversation was filled with paranoia and distrust-two conditions that I refuse to work under. When it comes to media relations you have to accept that we do need them. I understand that what student publications write about is out of control, but you need to be more available to them. You can’t refuse to meet with the new SA Beat reporter just because they have not indicated whether they are going on or off the record. I thought that my move from the Senate to the Executive would give make me less reliant on Senate politics to get things done, instead because of the stringent media policy you have, I feel more restricted in this Vice Presidential capacity.
I have made the mistake of saying yes to you too many times. I was afraid that if I did not agree with you I would be part of the distrusted crowd in the Executive Cabinet, but I am sick of playing these political games. I thought that applying for this position would help me better serve the GW Community by highlighting the achievements of the other Vice Presidents, instead I feel that students will be better off if I serve in another organization or capacity.
I might not commend you on your leadership style, but I will commend you on the people that you have asked to surround yourself with. The Vice Presidents in the Executive Cabinet as well as your Deputy Chief of Staff are some of the most amazing people I have met. Although there is an obvious strain on the relationship between us, I will always support the work that they do and will support their events. The most fun that I have had this year has been with them and I would not have stayed on this long if it had not been for them.
I hope that this resignation has made you realize that you need to change the relationship between the media and the Student Association. Even though I am the third Vice President to resign, for the sake of the SA and the stability of the Executive I hope that I am the last. Good Luck for the remainder of your term.