Opinion: A.S. resignations were a self-serving surrender

by Talia Raoufpur, Senior Staff Columnist

Twelve Associated Students representatives resigned last week after a resolution to remove the Aztec moniker and Aztec Warrior mascot failed to pass the A.S. University Council, completely discrediting themselves as leaders.

These resignations only further divide the student body. Politics should not be related to self, but self-sacrifice. These individuals were elected to serve until the end of the school year.

Leadership requires standing up for what is right while accepting opposite viewpoints. This is part of the democratic process.

According to the A.S. website, members of A.S. serve as student body representatives with the responsibility to “support the mission of San Diego State University (and) to create, promote and fund social, recreational, cultural, and educational programs and facilities both on campus and in the community, advocate for student interests, provide leadership opportunities and participate in shared governance.”

This resolution successfully revealed SDSU’s racist history. There are students who feel their cultural backgrounds are being degraded because of the university’s mascot character, architectural style and branding.

The A.S. Executive board unanimously voted against the resolution.

Student Diversity Commission Chair Rachel Muntz criticized Executive Vice President Patty Masengale’s decision to speak with student athletes about the resolution in an article in The Daily Aztec on April 26. Why should Masengale be criticized? The changing of the mascot affects all SDSU students past or present, including those who represent the figure on the fields and courts.

The Aztec mascot is not just an issue of racial injustice. It has monetary implications that would require an increase in spending on behalf of the university, including the students.

Former A.S. Presidential candidate and recent A.S. Board of Directors student-at-large representative Chloe Sension told The Daily Aztec that her resignation stemmed from her belief that A.S. does not uphold its value of diversity.

Members like Sension are held to a high standard and should not quit because their efforts do not lead to their desired results.

Diversity includes variations of ideas, no matter how liberal or conservative. Each voice is to be given the opportunity to be heard before a decision is made. The student government is not obligated to cater to every single individual’s needs.

These leaders hold positions of privilege. They are part of the select few who have been awarded the power to make decisions on behalf of the students.

Their resignations are not commendable, but dangerous to the student groups they stand behind. If Judicial Affairs Council justice member Farris Nabulsi truly intended to advocate for students of color, he should have kept his position, no matter how many weeks remained in the semester. Students of color will continue to face hardships and the representatives that strive to protect them should keep fighting, rather than resign because of one lost battle.

These former A.S. members may believe that stepping down from their positions is heroic, but it is not. In their minds, the resignations benefitted students. However, students who feel disenfranchised deserve to be represented by leaders who will not stop fighting for their principles — even with bruised egos.