Inside Look at the Student Body’s Representatives
by Jonathan Caban
Students took the time to vote for their favorite candidates in preparation for the change in Student Government next semester.
However, do students know exactly what these candidates are campaigning for? Do students know what their government officials have done for them?
Student Government is made up of over 25 elected representatives who meet on a regular basis to discuss their plans to help improve life on campus.
The CSI website states, “Through its various commissions and committees the Student Government represents student interests to the administration and faculty of the College along with sponsoring many programs of both an academic and non-academic nature.”
However, it does not list exactly what these programs are or what interests are represented.
“I helped organize the Flags for the Fallen event in November,” said the Commissioner for Veterans and Disabled Students, Amanda Rae Davis. “I’ve also organized book drives to send books to soldiers overseas.”
In addition to these initiatives, Davis also runs an Anti-Bullying and Anti-Suicide campaign to help students in need. She has also helped to bring in over $6,000 in scholarship money to campus.
“I’m an advocate for students’ needs with the D.R.E.A.M Act.” said Monica Sibri, the former SG Vice President. “I’ve also helped to bring the new technology building here to campus.”
D.R.E.A.M stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The Act’s goal is open access to tuition programs for undocumented students. This is one of Sibri’s platforms for her election into student government.
“I want students to feel empowered to share ideas and speak out,” said Sibri. “I want to make sure they are represented and that no one is left out.”
But no government is perfect and as a whole the organization wishes to do the best they can to help out their peers.
“We are a large cohesive unit and sometimes it’s difficult to get people to work together,” said Davis. “Everyone is doing their own thing to a point but we know it is beneficial to the student body to work together. We all know that what happens in the room doesn’t affect our friendships.”
This might explain certain events that have occurred recently within student government. Sibri was impeached by her peers from her former position as Vice-President after being accused of various charges.
Sibri was accused of misusing the power of her position, using intimidation and manipulation to secure government positions for personal gain, posting defamatory statements on social media about members of Student Government, and even leaking confidential information to CSI publications.
“I feel Monica thrives on chaos,” said Davis. “She’s a manipulator, she craves power and she’ll use it to push her own agenda. She’ll make a great politician.”
Sibri is appealing the allegations against her because of the lack of physical evidence and her belief that they are not true. She states that she still hasn’t received the notice of impeachment with the full list of charges.
“I know these charges are all false,” said Sibri. “They had no evidence to stand on their allegations.”
The charges against her pertained to several events that occurred over the past year. One such event was when Sibri and fellow Student Government member Jorge Villatoro attended a University Student Retreat together as representatives. Villatoro was soon called out by Sibri for drinking alcohol during the retreat. Villatoro accused Sibri of attempting to force him to sign a document stating that if he engaged in this behavior again, he would leave his position with SG. Sibri denied such a document existed.
Another event was when Sibri posted a video to Facebook that showed several members of SG dancing in their office with a caption criticizing them for wasting the college’s money. While some viewed the video feeling that it was just a group of students enjoying some downtime, others felt that they were slacking on their duties and agreed with the caption.
Members of SG decided to press charges against Sibri feeling that she was not being professional and attempting to tarnish their reputation. The Trial sessions were held on March 27 and April 3. Some in SG felt that these sessions were unnecessary and one-sided.
“This was no trial because it wasn’t sanctioned by the administration,” said Ahmed Hegazy, another member of SG. “They had their minds set before the trial started.”
“I was walking into the room and they were all smiling. People who are supposed to be unbiased but outside they’re all bashing my name,” said Sibri.
Davis was the head of the five person investigation team for the trial proceedings. The goal of her team was to get the truth with honesty and integrity. She felt the trial was fair and that Sibri was guilty of all charges.
“She likes to play victim,” said Davis. “She’s made false promises and places her agendas before others. It’s sad the CSI students had to be subjected to someone who doesn’t have their best interests.”
The trial process was plagued with clerical errors and unanswered communications between those involved. During the first session, Sibri opted to not have anyone speak for her but brought an acquaintance for the second session. Members took turns voicing concerns about Sibri’s guilt. While the group worked hard to ensure due process and treat Sibri with respect, tensions arose during the trial as many objections were made against the accused and hostile witnesses.
At the conclusion of the trial, Sibri was found guilty of all charges and was removed from her Vice-President position. Despite her impeachment, Sibri is running again for the same organization that wanted her out.
Sibri’s decision to run again for SG had various reactions throughout campus. The members who were on her side applauded her move while her critics felt that her impeachment should have prevented her from running again.
“Some students approached me about a petition to ban her from running again,” said Davis. “The petition can be found at http://www.tinyurl.com/savestudentgovernment.”
Despite saying that others approached her with the petition, it is evident that Davis was the first person to sign the document at 1:49PM on April 10. Over the course of several weeks, the petition has earned 161 signatures with a needed 1,000 signatures.
The petition was posted onto a public Facebook page allowing students and non-students to weigh in on the topic. Negative and ignorant comments about how Sibri and her team were anti-semitic and anti-Israeli were thrown her way.
“I do not want people to think that this is CSI or Student Government creating these rumors,” said Sibri. “These are libel statements and they were made by students who lack knowledge.”
Sibri wasn’t the only one under siege from online scrutiny. Davis, who helped promote the petition, also came under fire through comments and hate messages accusing her of racism. One message stated “You white bitch leave my people alone!”
“I received most of the negative attention since I was the head investigator. I prefer that it was on me since I’m stronger than most people,” said Davis.
“When I put my head on my pillow at night, I sleep soundly because I know I did the right thing,” said Davis. “I love this school and I’m glad that we went through with it.”
This is Davis’ last semester at CSI while Sibri plans to continue.
“I’m running not to prove a point to them but a point to the student community,” said Sibri. “The lack of confidence in students is what motivated me to run because we should not be bullied for what we believe in.”