On Wednesday evening, crowds gathered along the second floor of the Student Center trying to grab a plate from the Friendsgiving dinner.
Meanwhile, in the SGA office on the fourth floor, key members of the SGA such as Amadou Bah, chief of staff; Zainab Ali, treasurer; Brianna King, secretary; and senators April King and Carmen Corea-Guerra boycotted the event.
“I am boycotting because there was injustice done to the chief of staff who is a responsible member of SGA,” said Zainab Ali. She was working on a resolution and expressing the repeated frustrations that she had with leadership. “I feel constantly betrayed.”
The injustice referenced is a direct tie to a set of actions that some in SGA argue are patterns of executive overreach exhibited by SGA President Yvonne Harper.
These include actions taken during the planning process for the Friendsgiving event in which President Harper cancelled orders for promotional items such as a tote bag, scarves, gloves, and a hat.
The proposed promotional item designs and contents were approved in late October with executive board members in agreement to follow the lead of the chief of staff who did much of the planning. Days after the meeting, Anthony Butler, director of the Rosenberg Center for Student Involvement, expressed his concerns about the design of the giveaway items.
“Rather than calling a meeting and discussing this, she went forward and just cancelled the promotional items.”, said Bah. “I told her if there was no promo, there would be no event.” Bah sent out an email declaring that the event was cancelled in addition to calling Mission Barbeque to cancel the food order.
Later, members of the SGA who wanted to ensure the event’s success negotiated a deal with Mission Barbeque to provide the food to be compensated later.
“It is just not right to have people in SGA constantly talk about transparency, but not actually be transparent about their actions.”, said Senator April King as she looked up from a card game with other boycotters.
The UB Post reached out to President Harper regarding her response to the claims made against her. Harper declined to comment instead urging that the UB Post, “redirect your focus to the betterment of the University of Baltimore” while offering an invitation to discuss the 2019-2020 platform.
Leonard Robinson is editor-in-chief of the UB Post.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of the article failed to mention that Hugh Norko is the Baltimore editor of the UB Post. The previous article also claimed that Norko was a participant in the boycott. In fact, Norko attended the event between the break in his class schedule and was in class for the remainder of the event.