this article has been the collaborative effort of sdz, hen, fern, and fos
Late in the evening on Thursday, April 30th, an anonymous student published a blog post on Medium.com titled “On Impeachments & Coverups.” The article alleged misconduct on the part of several WSA members and cited the impeachment of Huzaifa Khan ‘22, who was then running unopposed for the WSA presidency. Until this point, few outside of the WSA had heard about Huzaifa’s impeachment and proximal resignation. The post was disseminated to the student body via the WesAdmits Facebook groups by Fitzroy Pablo Wickham ‘21. Several hours later, Khan issued his own lengthy response via Wes Admits 2023, announcing the end of his candidacy.
These developments came as a shock. Wesleyan’s student government wields far more power than its counterparts at peer institutions (including being directly in charge of over $800,000 in funds), and the members of the WSA are now tasked with leading the student response to an unprecedented global crisis. The last we knew, the WSA was working hard to advocate for students, and its efforts appeared to be running smoothly.
The WSA is pursuing measures to bring aid to Wesleyan students, and many of its efforts have a particular focus on students of first-generation, low-income (FGLI) backgrounds. Alongside the rest of the Leadership Board, Huzaifa took the lead on these initiatives, and was a public-facing advocate for students, both at meetings and on social media. In the eyes of most students, and of this here blog, it seemed that the WSA was fulfilling its duty to represent student interests to the Administration.
So what went wrong? And why should you care about the wheelings and dealings of our student government? After all, any student group is prone to miscommunications, drama, and other issues, right?
Unfortunately, the Medium post is just the latest in a series of bizarre events we uncovered as we started investigating the impeachment. We learned that Huzaifa was impeached, that he resigned hastily before the WSA could notify the school, that the WSA covered it all up, and that he then ran for president unopposed is nothing less than bizarre. And the fact that this was all happening amidst a moment of not only campus-wide, but worldwide chaos? Well, we were just floored.
It’s true that during this global pandemic, senators have worked tirelessly to distribute funding and critical information. But, these developments raise questions. How did the WSA, an institution meant to represent the interests of the student body, become so entrenched in its own mess? And, how can we trust the WSA to serve students and hold the administration accountable when it seems like it’s struggling to hold itself accountable?[Editor’s note: a fellow Wesleying editor was personally involved with the people and events detailed in this article. The editor recused herself from this piece.]
Click here to see a timeline of the events
Mar. 8 – Mar. 29 – Wesleyan announces suspension of in-person classes and transitions online WSA creates WSA Supplementary Emergency Fund to provide relief to students dealing with COVID 19-related costs.
Mar. 30 – Apr. 12 – Huzaifa messages an applicant for the Emergency Fund via Facebook Messenger. Applicant emails WSA president Justin Ratkovic ‘20 and SBC chair Aditi Shenoy ‘20 informing them of the incident, saying that Huzaifa’s behavior was “outside the limits of professionalism.” Later, Huzaifa sends a message to the applicant apologizing for his behavior.
Apr. 13 – Apr. 19 – Huzaifa decides to run for WSA president. Then-Chief of Staff Adam Hickey ’22 serves impeachment to Huzaifa. Adam and Huzaifa resign. WSA does not continue with impeachment hearings. Two WSA senators withdraw from the presidential and vice presidential elections.
Apr. 20 – Apr. 27 – A haze. Nothing too exciting. WSA elections begin.
Apr. 28 – May 1 – sdz and hen don’t leave their laptops for 96 hours. Wesleying receives an open letter, and begins working on an article. Three days later, an edited version of the open letter is anonymously leaked on Medium. Following the posting of the letter, Huzaifa suspends his presidential campaign.
May 2 – This article is posted.