CSG Brief: Four members resign at Jan. 28 meeting

CSG Brief: Four members resign at Jan. 28 meeting

Alice Crow

There was no guest speaker at the Jan. 28 meeting of Chatham Student Government. Instead, a letter of resignation from the executive vice president of CSG, Hanna Theile ‘21, was read aloud to those attending. 

Theile explained her reason for resigning, writing, “In my opinion, CSG has drifted away from serving the student body, and is not willing to stand up for what is right. Yes, there are times when student leaders will not see eye to eye on a certain topic, but when an organization as a whole silences marginalized students, does not defend democracy, and listens to administration over fellow classmates, this must not be tolerated.” 

The letter of resignation sparked conversation among members, highlighting the polarized objectives of different student representatives. While some, including Theile, seemed to believe that Chatham Student Government’s main role is to address societal issues on a campus wide scale, such as food insecurity, student worker rights, and implementing protections for minority students, other representatives expressed their desire to prioritize school spirit and student mental health. 

Ryan Tahbaz ‘23 was the first to voice his frustration. He accused certain members of CSG of forming a “clique” and forcing other representatives to only focus on social justice issues. He argued that he joined CSG because Chatham is “boring,” and he wanted to change that for the student body. 

Other CSG members were sympathetic to this argument, stating that they also wanted to focus more on school spirit and fostering a campus community. Caiti Worwood ‘21 said, “We focus too much on things we can’t change.” 

Taylor Pelow ‘21 expressed her disgust for the arguments made by her fellow CSG members. She cited their privilege as a reason for some students not feeling the need to concern themselves with important social issues on campus. 

There was considerable debate over the purpose of CSG, and it was noted by Dean of Students, Heather Black, that tension had been rising for some time in CSG, and it seemed that it was finally coming to a head. 

Another issue raised in the meeting was the level of transparency between the executive and senate of CSG. The executive consists of five members, including the executive president, executive vice president, vice president of communications, vice president of finances and vice president of diversity and inclusion. 

The senate is composed of the individual student representatives from each class, which include a class president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and two student representatives. More information about CSG can be found on its website

Some members were concerned about decisions being made in private executive meetings and asked for more transparency, either through the form of available minutes or allowing anyone to attend meetings to observe. While these proposals were discussed, no decision was made on the matter, since some members were hesitant to allow observation of executive meetings. 

By the end of the meeting, Pelow, the vice president of communications; Ava Roberts ‘22, class president of 2022 and Miranda ShaeWood ‘22, class vice president of 2022, all resigned from their positions. Roberts said that she, and the others who resigned, would still fight for student rights and quality of life, but could not continue to work with CSG because of their conflicting values. 

The executive vice president role has been filled by HR Liotta ‘23. The other positions still remain available. The next CSG meeting is Feb. 4 and will feature Dr. Randi Congleton, Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as the guest speaker. The Zoom link can be found on the CSG Instagram account.