ASB in turmoil as leadership team tries to work out differences

From staff reports, From staff reports

When activities coordinator Bryan Gordon announced he was leaving on the last day of the 2018-19 school year, it left his newly-elected student government group in chaos. Kasey Campbell was hired in August, just weeks before the start of the school year. Campbell had to hit the ground running, but he had a steep learning curve.

The main role of the Associated Student Body (ASB) is to organize and execute events for the school. School dances and assemblies are all coordinated by ASB leaders. It is also their job to listen to the wants and needs of the student body.

Class officers play a similar role, but their focus is largely on their own grade level, not the entire school. Some of their jobs include, but are not limited to fundraising for prom, promoting school spirit and being an advocate for their grade.

Gordon, who juggled many duties as Cleveland’s activities coordinator, took a job at Chief Leschi Schools in Puyallup. His departure left several events in flux including Homecoming, which was scheduled for September instead of the usual October. The incoming Associated Student Body (ASB) officers – several with little or no ASB experience – were tasked with organizing one of the school’s biggest events without much help. The lack of oversight brought a lot of discord amongst ASB leaders.

Fathima Garcia, Junior class president

Fathima Garcia, president of the class of 2021, said the first week was hectic.

“It was very different from last year,” she said. “It was a lot of adjusting.”

Garcia said having a new teacher and several students new to ASB was something everyone would need time to adjust to.

“You have to realize things are going to change, and you have to get used to the new change,” she said.

ASB Vice President Gabriella Payoyo waits for students to get seated before addressing the crowd at the Homecoming pep rally on Sept. 27.

ASB leaders and cabinet members were expected to sign up for various roles for Homecoming, but it was ASB president Gabriella Payoyo and secretary Kira Maynard doing much of the work after an incident on social media caused a rift in the leadership team. The strife led to a reassignment of leadership duties until the group could get back on track.

“Most definitely it’s hard to manage and stay on task with my own job, especially since if someone’s slacking,” said Payoyo. “You have to pick up their slack.”

The week after Homecoming, Campbell announced at an ASB meeting that he had made a Student Government Rules and Regulations handbook outlining specific roles and expectation. He felt there was a lack of equity between ASB and the representatives. If a leader violates the rules, they will be permanently removed.

Campbell acknowledged that ASB is heavy in Asian and white representation and is hoping to make the school’s leadership more reflective of the student body. With elections for the class of 2023, Campbell is hoping there will be an increase in Black and Latinx students running for office.

“Representation is huge.”

Staff reporter Mia Dabney contributed to this report.