Letter: Kaleigh Maxwell, former ASCSU Director of Multimedia, speaks out on recent impeachment

Guest Author

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

Dear Collegian,

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For the past few weeks, I have been experiencing a lot of emotions as a result of the impeachment of the Associated Students of Colorado State University President, Josh Silva. Not only was my heart broken watching someone so hard-working, selfless, and dedicated lose his job, but I was in shock by the behavior that has been tolerated by the members of ASCSU.

Following the impeachment decision, I resigned my position in Executive Branch as the ASCSU’s first Director of Multimedia. Some may believe that I resigned because I was upset by the final vote, I actually resigned because I could no longer be a part of an organization that bullied me and refused to believe what I had to say. For the past six months, I have constantly been silenced by ASCSU and its members, and I am writing this letter in hopes that I will finally be granted the respect of being heard by its members and the students.

Over the past six months, it was no secret that there was a large amount of dysfunction in ASCSU’s marketing department. Two members of the department presented personal statements during the impeachment trial, both of which spoke negatively about Josh, and their claims were later used in the Senate’s debate for impeachment. However, what senators were not aware of was the fact that the words in their statements were a result of personal issues that they had with me.

If the accusations against Josh of bullying or harassment were true, not only would I not have stayed to support him through the entirety of the impeachment, but I doubt Josh would have stayed to endure such treatment either.

If the accusations of unprofessionalism were true, I would not have been there holding his hand throughout that dreadful night, the worst night of my life. The fact that I am “Josh’s girlfriend” does not validate the disrespectful behavior that I experienced, nor does it validate the severity of the accusations made. While I am proud to say that I am Josh’s girlfriend, he will be the first to say that that title does not define me.

Looking back, not only am I am disappointed in myself for letting myself be treated this way, but I am disappointed by the fact that my words were discredited due to my relationship with Josh Silva.

Looking back, not only am I am disappointed in myself for letting myself be treated this way, but I am disappointed by the fact that my words were discredited due to my relationship with Josh Silva.

During the 6 months that I worked in the organization, my concerns were never addressed and I was not believed because I was only seen by others as ‘Josh’s girlfriend,’ rather than Kaleigh Maxwell, ASCSU Director of Multimedia.

Not long after my ratification in May 2017, conflict in my department began, as one of my co-workers refused to take ownership of a mistake they made, and I was reprimanded for things that were not my fault. After sharing my side of the story with my supervisor, it was clear that I was not responsible for the slip-up; however, the behavior of my co-worker was never addressed.

Throughout the semester, I worked 30-40 hours per week for ASCSU, as I not only had to do my own work, but I had to continuously pick up the slack for this other member in my department. Week after week, I met with my supervisors and voiced my complaints, but week after week I was simply nodded at and my complaints were completely ignored. In fact, there were times in which I sat in my supervisor’s meeting and simply cried, as I felt so disrespected and hurt by the way I was being bullied by my own department.

Internal complaints were submitted, claiming that Josh violated the ‘consensual relationship policy’ by showing favoritism to his girlfriend. One of the articles previously written in this paper features the headline, “CSU student government blames hostile environment on president’s office relationship,” yet never mentions me by name. My supervisors complained about the dynamic that the relationship created within the marketing department; however, I continuously felt belittled, as I was led to believe that I didn’t deserve the decency to be brought into these conversations, even though the conversations were about me.

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I was kept on the outside as “Josh’s girlfriend” and was never allowed to even comment on the matter. Not only did I have to deal with the emotional toll of being interviewed as a key witness in a University investigation about myself, but I had to sit there and defend myself against lies about Josh, myself, and my work performance, as the confidentiality of the investigation was grossly violated.

On the night of the impeachment, it seemed unfair that the only things that were believed by the Senate’s voting members were negative. It seemed unfair that the credibility of the individuals criticizing Josh were never questioned, nor the legitimacy of the accusations themselves questioned as well. I look back and ask why their claims were considered credible, while complaints that I continued to make for the past six months were not.

As a member of the CSU community who identifies as a constituent of Resources for Disabled Students, the Multi-Faith and Belief Student Council, and the College of Liberal Arts, I was ashamed that my ‘representatives’ voted based on unfair statements and lies.

If ASCSU and its members believe that they will be able to move on from the events that transpired around the impeachment this past semester, they are mistaken. In order to press forward, they need to first acknowledge the hurt that they have caused. I encourage the organization and its members to truly hold one another accountable, so bullying will no longer be tolerated.

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