Alex Manzanares, former Student Government secretary, and Spencer Siegel, former SG outreach director, resigned from their positions at a special session of the Undergraduate Senate last night.
Both Manzanares, a sophomore in the School of Communication, and Siegel, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote letters announcing their resignations that were presented to The Eagle staff and the SG. At the special session, both letters were photocopied and handed out to all who attended the meeting.
In his letter that was addressed to the student body, AU administration and colleagues, Manzanares described his reasons for resignation.
“I can no longer be part of what is now a glorified club instead of an advocacy body for students ... The Vidulich Administration in its’ [sic] current state thrives on drama, nepotism and being best of friends with the American University Administration,” Manzanares wrote.
Siegel echoed Manzanares’ reasons for resigning his post from the SG.
“Change is not possible through the Student Government because a lack of diversity and dedication to uphold the interests of the student body [exists] ... This is a systematic problem that needs to be addressed by our student body,” Siegel wrote.
SG President Joe Vidulich said he was very concerned with the testimony of the pair and was taken aback by what Manzanares had written, noting how a lot of what he had declared was not true.
Charlie Biscotto, a senator at-large and a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said Manzanares “blatantly lied” in the past in terms of numbers he had given and attributions he had made in dealing with the SG magazine. These blatant lies, according to Biscotto, “forced us to look deeper in the issue.”
However, Vidulich said he was sad to see Manzanares leave his post, especially since he thought Manzanares brought a new energy and diversity to the SG.
After the meeting, Vidulich discussed some of the reasons he believed Manzanares chose to resign. Vidulich spoke of a “general mistrust” that existed in terms of Manzanares’ ability to do his job. In addition, Vidulich spoke of Manzanares’ role in the production of the SG magazine and noted how this was the first time ever the SG magazine did not make money.
Spencer Siegel, who did not attend the special session, spoke after the meeting’s end of why both Manzanares and himself resigned their positions.
“Alex has been faced with significant barriers in being able to run his office, both from in the senate and people in his branch,” Siegel said.
Siegel said he was not willing to work with someone else, in terms of whoever may take Manzanares’ position.
“I hope that me stepping down will send a stronger message than if just he stepped down,” Siegel said.
Andrew Kerai, senator for the Kogod School of Business and a junior in Kogod, said he was surprised at the resignations.
“I was really shocked - on the surface it seemed to me he was doing his job,” Kerai said about Manzanares’ departure. “I never saw any problems with him - I guess things just didn’t work out.”
David Carpenter, class of 2010 senator and a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, said he was shocked at Manzanares’ resignation.
“I had heard that there were rumblings of impeaching him, but I did not think he would resign,” Carpenter said.
In respect to the future of the SG, Vidulich seemed optimistic that the SG would go on to prevail past the resignations of both Manzanares and Siegel.
“The business has halted for one moment only, and then we will move on - we are more than one individual,” he said. “We are hoping for support, and we want to do a lot of good things. We are going to go on.”
The speaker of the senate will appoint two people to interview prospective candidates for the secretary position and make recommendations. A member of the executive board and a member of the secretary’s cabinet will also contribute to the interview process, but Vidulich will make the final decision on who becomes the next secretary.