Someone who engages in sexual assault should never be elected ASO President. Yet just 44 votes kept former ASO senator and accused rapist Roy Castillo from becoming the leader of our student body.
It is horrifying that the election was even that close.
Castillo should not have been allowed to run.
Southwestern College’s ASO Constitution lists six qualifications to run for president. It is a low bar. A candidate must not hold any other ASO position, have at least a 2.5 GPA and enroll in nine units. There is no morality clause.
It is time to change that.
A morality clause is a section of a contract that stipulates ethical behavior, typically for celebrity endorsements or professional athletes. If violated, the person could lose their endorsement. It is high time the ASO Constitution be amended to include an ethics clause for student government officials, especially the president.
Recent presidents like Melissa Rodriguez and Mona Dibas are sterling examples of what our ASO President should be. Both ladies were scholarly and moral service leaders. They were role models who fought for students’ rights and against sexual assault.
It is supremely ironic that they could have been succeeded by a profane, manipulative middle-aged sexual predator like Castillo. Compared to Castillo, Roy Moore, Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein look like rank amateurs. Like Moore, Castillo is a 30-something who likes them young.
There are few examples of morality clauses in other college student government organizations in California, but that is not an excuse. Being the first should not be a deterrent. Southwestern College can demonstrate some leadership in social change and take another step towards diminishing the rape culture on this campus.
Frankly, SWC cannot afford to sit this one out. Past ASOs have suffered from immoral, narcissistic representatives. Our campus police department is involved in a sexual assault scandal. Current and former administrators have enabled sexual assault and Southwestern’s rape culture. They know who they are. So do we.
It is time for action. It is not enough anymore to wave signs and say the student body stands against violence and sexual assault. Last year’s mostly-excellent ASO, nevertheless, had too many immature, ill-behaviored members who engaged in disturbing sexual misconduct. Castillo was the worst perpetrator, but not the only ASO official that behaved badly.
ASO officials need to advocate for changes in Southwestern’s dysfunctional culture. Before the culture can really change, college leaders must take the first step. We applaud college president Dr. Kindred Murillo for acknowledging this, but we wish she would actually take that step and make some long-overdue personnel changes. Some heads need to roll to show the community that SWC’s decades of sleazy sexual conduct is over—or is moving toward an end.
An amendment to the ASO’s Constitution will not take back what Roy Castillo did to the people around her— but it might prevent a future sexual predator from gaining leadership of the student body. Castillo is not the first 30- or 40- something to use the college as a sexual candy shop, but our leaders need to do everything possible to try and make her the last.
Cartoon by Marty Loftin