“Every Single Year, The Person Who Has Done It Has Resigned, And I Think That Speaks For Itself”:
Malcolm's Resignation From The DSU
By Julia Bifulco
“This is a perfect representation of your relationship with clubs!” noted staff writer Bridget Griffin as her hair was cut by Malcolm during this interview. Even before they were elected as the Dawson Student Union’s director of clubs and services, Malcolm has had a close relationship with clubs and their members, so their resignation from this position came as a shock to many students.
“I had no idea where the office was, I never interacted with anyone in it, and I didn’t know how many people there were,” Malcolm says of their relationship to the DSU prior to running during the by-elections of last April. Unsurprisingly, they heard that “communication was inadequate” between the DSU and members of Dawson’s clubs, and it seemed like “things in general weren’t up to par.”
As an active member of Sci-Fi club, upon hearing that their club space would be downsized, and that nobody was informed beforehand, Malcolm decided to take action: “People were like ‘you guys are losing half your space and there’s nothing you can do about it,’ and that was that.” Malcolm attributes this event to be the “tipping point” for when they decided to run for DSU. “I didn’t like the fact that our community wasn’t being respected,” they say, explaining that they hoped to make changes regarding this if they were elected.
During their first semester in the DSU, Dawson had an altercation with the Union that resulted in the college threatening to take away the club spaces. “The threat that clubs would be shut down was not the worst thing I dealt with as director of clubs and services; it was the biggest thing I faced from Dawson College itself,” Malcolm says, adding that one thing nobody talks about is “interpersonal relations when you’re in a position of power being extremely difficult to navigate.” It was difficult for them to have to deal with people that they may have known personally, especially when they wouldn’t respect the rules of the club spaces.
“I knew that I was getting into something complicated, but I liked it, because I had the support of the people behind me,” they say of their first semester in the DSU. The difference this semester, “and part of why I resigned,” according to Malcolm, was that “I couldn’t do my job to the same capacity, and therefore, people felt like they were getting slighted based on what had happened the semester before.”
“I think that glitter was a pretty cute way to go out!”
Having been away all summer, Malcolm only got to know their fellow DSU members at the beginning of this semester: “I met them during elections, but I never got to know them as actual people.” Malcolm says that the semester has been difficult, because alongside being at a stressful point personally, they were “unable to read [other members], and didn’t know where I stood with them.” Adding this to the stress of what they described as being “explicitly one of the most difficult jobs at the DSU,” Malcolm felt very overwhelmed with the position that they were in.
“The final straw—and this is petty—was when they threw out my metal mugs, because there were no personal items allowed in the office,” Malcolm explains. “Also, if you look at your DSU-given agenda, they used my dead name.” Although they acknowledge that this was a mistake, Malcolm’s name “has been changed in the Dawson system since February: before I was involved with the DSU.” They add that “simply asking me about it” would have resolved both of these issues.
Despite having been told that they were entering a professional workplace, Malcolm is adamant about the fact that “we’re eighteen years old, we’re stupid, and we don’t know how to separate our personal feelings from a professional environment. We shouldn’t have to; this isn’t a job! It’s completely irresponsible for the school to expect students to maintain the same level of organization and diplomacy that they pay people for.”
Malcolm’s resignation ended with having to write a letter, which another DSU member offered to send them a template of, “so that I could get it right.” They ended up—“and write in the article that I am pausing and smiling, because this is a very pleasant memory”—only including the quintessentials for a letter of resignation. This letter was folded diagonally, filled with glitter, and placed in a bedazzled envelope, “which could only be opened by being torn, thusly spilling the glitter everywhere.”
They describe their exit as “harmless retaliation” that did not “do anything to harm or incapacitate the clubs.” Malcolm does not know what the reaction to their resignation has been, but they are content with that fact: “I think that glitter was a pretty cute way to go out!”