Amanda Saleh, who served as the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Student Government Vice President since September, has resigned. Her official resignation date was January 7.
Saleh said she had been thinking about resigning since December 2019.
“At the end I just felt like it was best for me,” Saleh said. “I didn’t see any more growth coming.”
Saleh also said that she sometimes felt like she was taking on roles that should’ve gone to Student Government President Sarah Nassar, and like she was “pulling her weight.”
Saleh said she felt like Nassar “wouldn’t come prepared” and that she was “directing [Nassar] where I felt like she should already have direction.”
Saleh said that internal issues within Student Government pushed her to resign, too.
“Everybody knows the tension that Student Government members kind of face with each other,” Saleh said. “There’s a lot of internal drama that I think impacts our work as a body.”
Saleh said that Nassar started attending administration meetings alone without giving Saleh an explanation as to why they weren’t both attending. Saleh also said that she and Nassar went to a Biggby Coffee and tried to work out their differences, and that they originally “had an understanding” that Saleh could begin attending meetings again. However, Saleh said she soon saw a repeat in Nassar’s behavior.
“Student Government creates tension among student leaders, which impacts student life,” Saleh said. “This filters out into the general student population. The student body either doesn’t know much about Student Government, or they have heard ‘interesting’ or bad things about it. This is a problem. The way that the public currently sees Student Government is far from how we want them to view us. There is something that we are doing wrong, and it is worth looking into — starting with editing the election guidelines and removing the existence of parties.”
“In Student Government, it’s not always about having the ‘skills’ to be in a certain position,” Saleh continued. “It’s about having the ability to adapt within your role. You’ll be faced with internal and external challenges; and if you fail to listen, delegate, and adapt properly, you will not serve the student body the way that they deserve to be served.”
Saleh said her original goal was changing the culture of Student Government. She also wanted to create a website that would assist Student Government in “publicizing our administration and holding them accountable.”
Saleh said she plans to continue the creation of the website when she re-joins Student Government later on as a fellow.
While, according to Saleh, she and Nassar had some internal issues, Saleh said that she understands being President is stressful and that it’s a lot of pressure.
“I know she is grateful for my help,” Saleh said.
As for Saleh’s future plans, she said she hopes to dive deeper into one of the many other organizations and projects she’s currently involved with. Saleh said she “spread myself too thin, on purpose” last semester in order to find what she is passionate about, which she found to be the topics of sexual assault prevention and campus safety. She looks forward to working more in depth with these topics and graduating in April 2022.
“I don’t need to be Vice President to do those things,” Saleh said.
“I’ve heard people say that we’re pretentious or we carry on the idea that only Student Government members can do this,” Saleh said. “Anybody can do it. You don’t have to be a part of Student Government to get it done as long as you know what resources you have and who’s available to you.”
Nassar told the Michigan Journal that she supports Saleh in her decision and all her endeavors. She declined to comment any further on Saleh’s resignation.
Saleh isn’t sure who is going to replace her or when, but she thinks that the organization is going to try to fill it as soon as they can. Nassar told the Michigan Journal that they could schedule a meeting with her or attend the next Student Government meeting to learn more (which, according to VictorsLink, is scheduled for Jan. 24).
Saleh said that she’d be happy to help train the new Vice President should Student Government reach out to her.
According to Saleh, Student Government’s Secretary and Director of Inclusion both resigned on Jan. 16. Student Government’s Facebook page lists Fawjia Yeasmin as their (now former) Director of Inclusion. Yeasmin confirmed that she resigned but declined to comment any further. According to Saleh, Amy Baier is the Secretary that resigned, but Baier declined to comment.