In the wake of insurrection, Student Assembly demonstrates greater accountability than the United States Congress

JAMIE HOLT / THE FLAT HAT

By this point in time, every American is highly aware of the unfortunate events that unfolded Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C, which culminated in the storming of the United States Capitol building. The response to such actions has been widespread and rife with much controversy, although the majority of American citizens appear to openly denounce the violent protesters and insurrectionists.

As a student at the College, I was anxiously awaiting the complete condemnation from university officials, particularly College President Katherine Rowe’s, who has come under great scrutiny by students in the past few months concerning her verbal responses relating to the 2020 election, support of DACA students on campus and support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Furthermore, as someone who lived in fear for the entirety of the Trump administration because of the former president’s homophobic legislation and his homophobic followers, I craved protection and assurance from the College.

The Student Assembly, in their recent Jan. 17 email, completely assuaged these fears by speaking out in a confident, well-worded manner that detailed their opinion of the riot. The email details their Insurrection Condemnation Resolution, which was notably passed unanimously and which cited the United States Constitution as basis for their statement.

Indeed, transitions of power should be utterly peaceful and respectful of the nation’s desires — namely, the desire for Joe Biden to take over the country after this election, period. The statement further calls out Trump himself as the cause and center of the insurrection and extends to many members of his administration and party as well.

Not only this, but alumni of the College were found to be inveigled within the despicable actions: Representative Steven Chabot and Representative Matthew Gaetz II.

“These alumni, by their own actions, have failed to fulfill their obligations as a member of the William & Mary community outlined in the Honor Code, as well as their obligations as sworn defenders of democracy,” the Senate Resolution stated.

Because of the multiple forms of breach in integrity and honor, both of which the College upholds above all else, the resolution continued forth in condemnation of these alumni, severing all ties and claim to them.Although others were not alumni, the resolution condemned those of the Commonwealth and beyond who did not vote in favor of Trump’s second impeachment or may have participated in the insurrection, directly or otherwise.

The resolution was not all negatively toned, however, and even commended four alumni representatives who voted in favor of the impeachment, some of whom attended the College for undergrad and others whom attended for law school. Despite the complicated public opinion of police officers, the Student Assembly applauded members of law enforcement, particularly Eugene Goodman, who has been heralded as a hero for his actions during the storming of the Capitol.

It is hardly necessary, but I overwhelmingly approve of the decisiveness with which the Student Assembly has acted. President Joe Biden may not be the perfect leader, but he is indeed the one that our America has chosen, and by our very own laws, we are bound to honor that decision.

The Student Assembly may not have the prestige of the United States Senate itself, but it acted more maturely and thoroughly than the unfortunate members of Congress who stood with Trump and the insurrectionists by refusing to condemn them.

Elaine Godwin ‘22 is an English and Data Science double major. As a queer person, she has a unique view on the world and is dedicated to inclusion for the LGBTQ community. Email Elaine at sgodwin@email.wm.edu.

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