ASG Leaders Vow They’ll Work Together for Students


Photo by: Joanna Murrieta.

President Washington reading the email threads between Van Gilder and faculty to the ASG committee on Tuesday Sept. 18, 2018.

The president of the Associated Student Government apologized for his characterization of the Rampage as “bad propaganda and yellow journalism.”

He said during an interview on Oct. 8 that he had been “very reactional” and no longer believed the Rampage was propaganda.

“I can’t blame you guys, I have to blame myself.” Washington said. “I don’t stand by that statement. That article made me think about myself and myself as a reader. I apologize to the editorial board and the people who wrote the article.”

Washington later said that he regretted lying and wished that he had been more truthful. Washington later goes on to say he is optimistic about the student government coming together going forward.

“I’m optimistic that we are going to work together,” he said. “I think we are going to be OK. It’s a day by day process, and we learned.”

A week after the publication of an article about turmoil within the ASG, Carole Goldsmith, Fresno City College president, ordered the student government to attend a two-hour training, focusing on the Brown Act and responsibilities of student government officers.

The workshop was led by Goldsmith herself and Eileen O’Hare-Anderson, general counsel for the State Center Community College District. Goldsmith and Anderson went over topics like closed session meetings, illegal meetings, speaking to the press and making agendas.

Anderson stated there is no reason for ASG to enter a closed session because the body does not have paid employees.

Anderson said the ASG leaders cannot prohibit criticism from the media or others.

“You have to get thicker skin; you can have a spirited debate. You can have a difference of opinions,” Goldsmith said regarding criticism from the press and from colleagues. “But one thing need you need to do is not mimic the things you see on television. This is not reality TV.”

Prior to the workshop and the article Washington had sent a mass email, dated Sept. 16 to members of the student government regarding ASG’s interactions with The Rampage.

He instructed his senators not to speak with reporters from the Rampage and to always respond with “no comment.” This email also referenced “yellow journalism” and “bad propaganda,” references for which he later apologized.

Following the publication of the article about ASG dysfunction and the workshop Washington said,“I don’t have anything against Vice President Van Gilder and she doesn’t have anything against me, we don’t always see eye to eye but we are working towards a better working relationship.”

Angela Van Gilder, vice president of the ASG, said that the organization has been rethinking their interactions and have better appreciation of what each person is trying to do.

“I’m keeping an open mind right now,” Van Gilder said. “If I can have my wish, it’s that we can work well together, because he has a lot of good ideas for the ASG.”

She said the “meeting with Goldsmith and discussing the Brown Act really brought a lot of light to the ASG and made us realize some mistakes.”

Carlos Rodriguez, the student trustee of the ASG who was reportedly kicked out of an ASG meeting by Washington, said in an Oct. 9 interview that he believed the article had brought some attention to the school about the problems in the ASG and had pushed the association to train new senators in the Brown Act.

Rodriguez said that he has seen some positive changes in the interactions between the president and vice president and that his own relationship with Washington is more professional.

“It’s all about the students now,” he said. “We are pushing more for the students’ needs.”