Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Letter: SGA confirmation hearing was an unfair interrogation

An inquisition on values and beliefs

Alvin+Buyinza%2FCollegian
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Letter: SGA confirmation hearing was an unfair interrogation

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

By Richard Cullen, Letter Contributor

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To the Editor,

The University of Massachusetts promotes  “building a community of dignity and respect,” yet the treatment I was given by my peers in the Student Government Association included anything but those qualities. It was a slap in the face to open-minded, welcoming individuals across campus.

Student government has been a passion of mine since high school; I love serving people and helping those around me succeed. When I joined the UMass SGA as a wide-eyed freshman senator, I learned the procedures, played by the rules and took passion in all that I did.

Come sophomore year, I took the first semester off to focus on my personal life and my other passion on campus, the UMass College Republicans. It’s been an honor to help promote conservative ideals on campus.

I found reason to return when the SGA proposed a letter declaring, “police departments need not cooperate with Immigration Customs and Enforcement in the ethnic cleansing of undocumented immigrants,” because the phrase “ethnic cleansing” was not an accurate description. The Senate later replaced the phrase “ethnic cleansing” with “mass expulsion.” To put it nicely, this letter was sloppy. A letter this inaccurate and irrelevant has no place in the SGA.

I interviewed for a vacant seat in the SGA and was selected. At my hearing before the Senate, I stood at the podium, unabashedly clinging to my convictions as I mentioned my involvement in the College Republicans. It felt as though the air in the room had been sapped. I called for the following generally-conservative beliefs: smaller, transparent and responsible student government. Questions from the Senate followed. For a hearing meant to be a formality, it was an inquisition on my ideas and integrity.

I said we needed to work with the UMass administration instead of claiming generalizations about their positions. I also encouraged more campus discussion and outreach through student consultation processes, which have been ignored. However, I was interrogated on my ability to promote dialogue.

In the past year, the College Republicans’ Dave Rubin event welcomed over 300 students. Our Sean Spicer event was one of the biggest political events for the chapter, drawing over 800 people. Does bringing speakers that attract hundreds of students and protestors alike not qualify as dialogue? Do we not need dialogue from more than one just sect of the political spectrum?

One question that saddened me was when a senator questioned my ability to work with every member. I had worked with nearly every senator the previous year, and the only difference now was that I was an open conservative. Flustered, I said some of my best friends were Democrats and received mocking laughter from a sea of far-leftists, clearly unable to rationalize opposing opinions.

The typical Senate hearing lasts under 10 minutes and overwhelmingly approves candidates. Mine was notoriously longer; I was interrogated on every angle of my opinions which were unpopular, but completely irrelevant for this situation. For the first time in a while, a Senate nominee was denied because people didn’t like what I had to say. When I was denied, applause roared from those with opposing viewpoints.

I stood up for conservative ideals and refused to bend my knee to far-left ideals. Being afraid is no longer an option. Conservatives must go beyond hosting speakers. Qualified open conservatives must be allowed to represent their fellow students without the fear of political persecution.

Richard Cullen

11 Comments

11 Responses to “Letter: SGA confirmation hearing was an unfair interrogation”

  1. Chris Canning on March 19th, 2019 9:53 am

    This does not surprise me. I was the 2016 GOP State Candidate for Senate. With three degrees from the institution, I didn’t get support. Moreover, while undertaking the last of the three degrees, I faced serious discrimination — and in the end, the perpetrator was allowed to harass me again. I have never gone back — they talk about protecting rights, an attempt was made, but no follow through with the professors removal. Same thing happened to my friend Jyl when she was working professionally in their OIT. It is a sad truth — but a reality.

  2. Paula on March 19th, 2019 9:57 am

    I can not say that I am surprised that my alma mater (SON ‘75) is a bastion of noninclusive thinkers with a solitary liberal agenda. Obviously the intent of the university government is not to represent a diverse group but to remain homogenous in it’s thinking and to perpetuate and encourage only one way of thinking. What does this teach you? Looks and sounds like a bunch of bullies in the SGA. To the alumnae that contribute financially to this institute of “higher” education you may want to reconsider if this is what you want to support.

  3. Aaron Glenn on March 19th, 2019 9:58 am

    I am not even a conservative, but am on the side of Ricky. He is one of the kindest people on campus who will always go out of his way to help people. Just because of his political beliefs does not mean you have to attack him. He has common sense and knows what is best for this school. Timmy Sullivan is only successful in this school do to his far left beliefs, but if you look at all the shady things he’s done to get his way, is he really trying to help others. The man will lie and will put on a fake smile around people with one goal in mind. Get more votes, win unethically, and get a good job later in life because of the cheating now. Ricky Cullen is none of that and just wants to have his seat.

  4. Not-Wholesome Apple on March 19th, 2019 10:51 am

    The SGA is a disgrace to the student body now. No one should take them seriously

  5. Blythe on March 19th, 2019 12:59 pm

    You sound like a bit of a snowflake lmao crying about not being confirmed. Imagine taking the SGA that seriously. 🤷🏼‍♀️

  6. realtruth on March 19th, 2019 5:07 pm

    This is coming from the guy that was violently pushing students of color during the Melville rally in November. I for one am glad the SGA doesn’t have another racist white guy in their midst.

  7. Ricky Cullen on March 19th, 2019 11:43 pm

    @realtruth , Yes I was at the Melville rally. I was there to observe , listen, and learn. I did not engage in any sort of the behavior you described. What you claim are disgusting lies.

  8. Dr. Ed on March 20th, 2019 2:14 pm

    Sadly, none of this surprises me — and I would strongly suggest folk (including the admin) to re-read the Southworth decision on the Constitutionality of student governments at public universities. SCOTUS ruled they were OK because all students had an equal opportunity to participate/benefit and that’s clearly not the case here.
    .
    And Enku Gelaye, who graduated from a highly-respected law school, ought to be aware of this decision — she’s the one who’s gonna get sued if Cullen takes this to Federal Court, which I would encourage him to do.

  9. Chris Phelps on March 21st, 2019 5:49 pm

    Hey realtruth, too bad you have no basis or proof for your accusation. Typical leftist liberal who resorts to smears when they cannot win on the facts.

  10. Edward Devotion on March 22nd, 2019 5:21 pm

    Yet another example of bigotry and intolerance by those that loudly accuse others of such conduct.

  11. Dixon Kim on March 23rd, 2019 1:42 pm

    This is hardly shocking, the SGA is just a pathetic lonely group of geeks from high school who never got over being laughed at and picked on. Now they’re dying their hair and reading Marxism for Dummies and they’ll show those cool kids who’s boss. The best part is they don’t even know they are just brainwashed teen robots doing the bidding of far more sick adult groups…. But seeing them wasting their parents money while thinking they are revolutionary thinkers is always good for a laugh.

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