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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Burt fires Dining Services Commission director

Student Association President David Burt removed sophomore Christian Berle from his post as director of the Dining Services Commission in an e-mail Oct. 9. Berle said he had planned on bringing a suit against Burt through the SA’s judicial branch for violating the SA constitution, but decided against the move Wednesday.

Chris Berle was not doing his job, Burt said. I’ve never had to fire anyone before, and it’s not easy, but in the end I had to make the decision of what I thought was best for the students of this university.

Berle, who was appointed by Burt at the end of the last school year, said Burt’s order that he step down violated the SA constitution because the Dining Services Commission is a joint commission controlled by groups other than the SA.

Dining Services includes appointees from the SA, Marvin Center Governing Board and Residence Hall Association.

The commission isn’t specifically an SA organization, Berle said. He said he believes the SA president should not be able to remove an executive from a joint commission.

According to Article II, Section 4 of the SA constitution, the SA president has the power to remove, at his or her discretion, any appointed member of the Executive Branch, other than the executive vice president if said position was filled by appointment or any other person appointed or nominated under the authority of the Student Association.

Burt said his power to remove the DSC director is clear.

(The DSC) is not a joint committee, it’s an SA committee, created by the SA, Burt said. Anyone in the SA will tell you that.

SA bylaw 503 establishes the duties, responsibilities and joint membership of the DSC. But Berle said rules concerning Dining Services are also in the bylaws of the RHA and MCGB.

David was overstepping his boundaries as president, Berle said. My assertion is that it isn’t fair for the joint committee to give the head of the Student Association the ability to fire the Dining Services Commission (director).

Berle said he was fired instead of being asked to resign, which is the standard practice in politics.

Burt says he did not ask Berle to resign to avoid a repeat of an incident last year in which SA President Phil Meisner asked DSC Chair Chris Voss to resign. Voss refused to resign and Meisner later removed him from his position.

Berle resigned his position as SA student liaison to the Parents Association after he was removed from his position with the DSC. Vice President for Public Affairs Liz Cox also resigned effective Nov. 1 to focus on other time commitments, according to her resignation letter.

This year has been a difficult one with internal problems of communication in the executive branch, Cox wrote in the letter addressed to student leaders. Watching arguments between senators, between senators and (executive) members, and amongst cabinet offices has been discouraging.

Berle said disagreements between him and Burt contributed to the fallout.

I felt that David was asking me to use the Commission to perpetuate his agenda, Berle said. At the beginning of the year, I tried to follow everything he was saying, but I found barriers.

Burt appointed sophomore Jared Degnan to head the Dining Services Commission. Dengan has been able to commit his time to the commission better than Berle, Burt said.

If (Berle) was dedicated to his position, he would give as much time to the DSC as he did to other things. It’s not just what I need, it’s what students need, Burt said. In the end, I have a responsibility to 18,000 students.

Berle said after consulting with former and current members of the SA, he decided against suing Burt because it is unlikely the court would hear the case. He said he plans to lobby the SA Senate for an amendment to separate the DSC from the SA.

Even if the case had gone to court and turned out in his favor, Berle said that he would not have resumed his position on the DSC.

I don’t feel I can work with David, he said.

Burt called Berle’s decision not to sue the beginning of the return of sense to the SA.

I’m happy this is all done with, Burt said. I hope it’s the beginning of people returning to their focus, which is to serve students.

Burt said he hopes that GW students will not use this incident to represent the entire SA.

People will think that the SA is just a bunch of squabbling children, but I hope that the reaction is that this is just an individual, Burt said.

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