BU Student Government will hold an impeachment trial for its Vice President of Finance Kimberly Barzola (CAS ’17) and Vice President of Internal Affairs Marwa Sayed (CAS ’17) on Nov. 9 at 8 p.m., citing administrative concerns.
Last week, “Terriers against Discrimination,” an anonymous Facebook page which has since been deleted, created a petition to remove Barzola from office. The petition claimed that the E-board “created a hostile environment for the only Jewish cabinet member, holding the majority of their meetings on Jewish Holidays.” The group also mentioned the removal of Hillel seats from the Senate.
The Student Government E-board contacted the Quad to release the following statement, which has been republished here in its entirety:
As the Executive Board of Student Government at Boston University, we would like to address the claims that have been made against us, specifically the Vice President of Finance, Kim Barzola. Recently, an anonymously created (and now defunct) “Terriers Against Discrimination” Facebook group circulated a petition calling for her removal on the basis that she and the Executive Board have helped “create a hostile work environment for the only Jewish Cabinet member” by holding meetings on Jewish holidays, threatened to take away Hillel House Senate seats, and that the VPF specifically practices “systemic racism against BU’s Jewish population.”
First, the claim made regarding the scheduling of meetings on Jewish Holidays is misguided. Senate is lead by the Senate Chair, not the core executive board members. Leading up to the first meeting, which coincided with Rosh Hashanah (September 14th), the Vice President of Internal Affairs Marwa Sayed expressed her discomfort with having a Senate meeting on a Jewish holiday. As she did not have any jurisdiction over the matter, the VPIA advised the Senate Chair to change the meeting time. No action was taken by the Senate Chair and the meeting proceeded to the dismay of several Senators. Cabinet meetings are scheduled by the Chief of Staff.
Second, student organization representation in Senate is being discussed in Senate, led by two senators in a Senate committee, not the executive board. Any suggested policies have yet to reach the Senate floor for a vote. The allegation that the executive board “threatened to take away” Hillel’s three seats is false and in fact, impossible due to the entire Senate legislative process outlined above.
Finally, it is clear that this group has targeted the VPF due to her political views. This ordeal was sparked by the VPF’s comments on her personal Facebook page regarding a Letter to the Editor by Students for Justice in Palestine in the Daily Free Press. In an effort to silence her, and because she has not heeded to the group’s resignation calls, impeachment papers have been filed against the VPF as well as the VPIA.
The executive board will not tolerate the censorship of political speech seeing as the statement was not made on behalf of student government and did not target anyone. According to the United States Constitution, all people are entitled to their opinions. And yet, some students, including members of Student Government, have chosen external politics to catalyze a smear campaign and have dedicated the last few weeks to shamelessly making defamatory claims against a valuable student leader.
We value and seek to foster a community of open and respectful dialogue. Freedom of expression and debate are at the forefront of a holistic and meaningful college experience. Although we do not all agree with one another in our views, it is important that when we do disagree, it is in manner that is respectful and takes into account the diverse life experiences of our peers. We stand behind those who speak their truth and hope that the student body joins us in supporting such an environment.