Letter to the Editor: Statement on Recent SGA Controversy from the SGA President-Elect

Graphic by Corrina Reiss.

The Butler Collegian is committed to sharing diverse viewpoints from across the university and to upholding values of free speech. However, The Collegian does not endorse or promote opinions contained within any letter to the editor.

Fellow Bulldogs,

I write to you today to share insight into the recent events and the controversy surrounding SGA and many Diversity Center leaders. As your student body president-elect, I have promised time and time again to promote transparency in SGA and across campus. I view this as the first time since the election that I can truly uphold that promise.

On Monday, March 28, 2022, I was approached by Student Body President Will Gigerich about attending a meeting regarding funding furniture for the Diversity Center. I was informed that Diversity, Equity & Student Belonging, DESB, Director Maya Sanchez, Diversity Program Council President Annie Ventura, Associate Coordinator for Multicultural Student Engagement Marcos Navarro-Garcia, DESB Senate Committee Chair Meet Patel, and Director of the Efroymson Diversity Center Randall Ojeda would be in attendance. I agreed to attend in the form of an observer just minutes before the start of the meeting as I believed that the conversation would yield pertinent information for the next phase of SGA’s Atherton Refresh. Furthering this initiative has always been my plan for next year and one of the many points that I spoke on during the campaign.

The meeting started at approximately 4:00 p.m. in the SGA Office. I noticed that Director Randall Ojeda was absent from the room. Although Ojeda joined the meeting late, without an advisor present at the beginning, I personally made the decision to record the conversation as this is common practice in many SGA meetings. As conversation began everyone’s passion for bettering the student experience was evident – each with differing opinions on the timeline and means to enact change.

In light of recent events and in an effort to foster transparency, I decided that I should release the recording to the student body. I made the decision to ask both parties directly involved, Maya Sanchez and Will Gigerich, for their consent to share that recording. President Gigerich gave his consent while former Director Sanchez asked that it not be shared. For this reason, I will not release the recording and will instead allow for the student body to interpret the contents of the meeting through the upcoming Collegian article.

However, following the meeting, I immediately began to do my own research and reflection on the issue at hand. I worked, with the help of the current president, to obtain renderings of the furniture for the space and an actual price quote which amounted to $26,709.04. I also reached out to upper-level university officials to work to find funding for this project. Since then, it has come to my attention that President Gigerich did the same and informed the DC leaders. This is in no way a defense of any party involved. Rather, it is an attempt to provide more information and context into this meeting.

Now, as your student body president-elect, I would ask that everyone take a moment of reflection and understand the implications that words have in an increasingly digital world. The things we say and do now will forever have an impact on our lives and the lives of others. All parties involved in this issue are passionate about doing what they believe is right in order to better the lives of every student here at Butler. In no way should one’s views or lived experiences be discounted. At the end of the day, college is a space to learn and grow. I certainly encourage difficult conversations and holding people accountable but not at the expense of others. We are all Bulldogs, and we must always strive to do better and be better – for ourselves and for others. We need to understand that the impact we can have together is far greater than anything we can do when we are working against each other.

My sincere hope is that we can all move forward together and enter into a period of healing, unity and honesty. As we transition into a new administration, Meet and I will work to mend strained relationships and support all students on campus. 

Sincerely,

Cade Chezem

Student Body President-Elect

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