Mystery comment leaves Cross upset, possible conflict between student leaders


By Kierra Frazier

Sunday’s Student Association meeting sparked heated remarks resulting from an unrevealed comment made at an earlier candidate’s meeting.

During his executive report, SA President Khiree Cross said while he’s been in the SA for five years, he’s never seen or experienced so much drama as in the last few months.

“I think we’re in trouble guys, to be very honest with you,” Cross said. “I think our vision has been skewed; if we have measured what we have done as SA, our vision has been skewed.”

Cross addressed comments made by a senator at SA’s Feb. 14 candidate’s meeting in his speech. The exact comment wasn’t revealed, but Speaker of the Senate Tristan Martin said the nature of the comment regarded the current state of the SA.

Election Commissioner Brandon Lesnicki said a fellow chairperson and himself sat down with the commenter to address their statement. Lesnicki said the person who made the comment now understands why it was wrong to say.

“Please be mindful of what you say and when you say it,” Lesnicki said. “The incident didn’t just show disrespect to myself, but to all of the people involved in the election process because I felt like it kind of undermined all of the hard work we have done up until this point.”

Cross said the leading issue among members in the SA is being able to work together as a group. He said if the SA doesn’t start working out their issues now, it will become a snowball effect.

“I think that it’s the fact we can’t function as a whole because we disagree as an organization,” Cross said. “I think as student leaders, we need to realize that the SA is not a U.S. government.”

Cross said when he was elected president, he had a vision to increase retention within athletic events, increase awareness about the #NoShameCampgain and to launch #ProjectOrange. Cross upheld the #NoShameCampgain, a movement that strives to eliminate the stigma around those with mental illnesses, for suicide awareness during the Send Silence Packing in October 2018. Project Orange, an anti-violence campaign, held its first meeting Feb. 18.

“The fact that members of the SA can attest to say that my launching of Project Orange was a political move, you don’t know me as a person,” Cross said. “You’re obviously not trying to get to know me if you think that Project Orange is some diabolical scheme.”  

Cross said there have been accusations of him not submitting executive reports.

He said there have been barely any reports submitted in the past five years.

Cross said as the president, he fears for the next cabinet because the SA isn’t doing anything productive for the student body.

“We’re in here bickering, arguing and going back and forth on policy,” Cross said. “There are students who need our representation, and if you don’t agree with that, then I challenge you as a student leader to think about how you embody student leadership.”

Martin stopped Cross’ speech and said the issues discussed should be solved behind closed doors. Martin also advised senators and said if they wished to discuss the matter, they should talk to an advisor.

“Members of the Senate, we will work this out,” Martin said. “I’m not going to apologize for some of the things [Cross] said, but there’s an obvious divide between the Senate and the executive branch.”

Following Martin’s comments, Cross walked out of the meeting and said his opinion wasn’t valued.

Public Affairs Chairperson Antonio Johnson said he felt as if Cross’ speech should not have been stopped.

“I feel like we should handle this as a student body in general; [Cross] was correct when he said we need to help this issue as a whole,” Johnson said. “It has been going on for a while, and it’s not working behind closed doors.”

University Services Chairperson Alex Forgue said Cross’ comments in his executive report were unproductive.

“I feel like it was just an attack on the Senate as a whole,” Forgue said. “I have questions for him, and he came in here angry about something.”