In an email sent out mere hours ago, the Association of Student Governments (ASG) has laid down the law and drawn a line in the sand for its members. Quoted in full:
EOs [Executive Officers],
When dealing with the media, please be sure to get clearance from Dakota [Williams] or I [sic] to answer any questions.
I remind you that in your position you are representing ASG, and not just your campus. With that said, there are several people involved in campus politics, such as endorsing a candidate for Student Body President. If I hear anything that may hurt the credibility of ASG (such as anti-ASG, anti-ASG’s [sic] fee, or anything to that effect) and/or you are endorsing a candidate with such a stance, then I will have to ask you to step down from your postion. If you forsee this happening, please let me know. I will not hold it against you, but rather I’m looking out for the credibility of “our” organization.
I have stated in the past that I am willing to fire EOs, and I have not relaxed my position if your performance is not satisfactory or if your work and vision is not aligned with that of ASG. I realize this may be coming off as stern, but I believe it’s a necessary step to remind us all of the seriousness of the issues at hand.
Atul [Bhula, President of ASG]
In short, if you don’t get in line you’re fired. I’m really glad that this organization is so open to criticism that they’ll fire their own people if they have the nerve to question it. But this speaks to the fundamental problem with ASG: they are completed closed to any criticism. How can you even begin to reform an organization if they won’t even admit that they’re wrong? Most companies will have some sort of Open Door policy, where you’re allowed (or even encouraged) to ask questions about the company’s direction or the particular decisions made by your manager.
Apparently, this is not the case with ASG, as they prefer to take a more authoritarian stance towards their people. Going off the above email, you’re not even allowed to question how the organization is funded. You could think ASG is the best thing since baked bread, but if you have a problem with the fee, then game over! I might be a bitter clinger when it comes to guns and religion, but it appears that Mr. Bhula is a bitter clinger when it comes to his stipend.
On a more positive note, it does appear that we’re getting to them. Such an email would not even be necessary if they didn’t feel threatened by the “seriousness” of the various campus campaigns organizing against them. They’re also concerned about defending their credibility (though that presumes they have any credibility to defend) and shoring up any remaining support they may have with students. In sending out the Thought Police, they’ve given the game away: we’re winning.