New president to pick up the pieces

Nick Keough began this term as the student government’s new president after a tumultuous couple of months that concluded 2018 for the Associated Students of Lane Community College. Keough enters the arena after former president Keely Blyleven’s resignation at the end of last year. Tensions between student government members rose last October and November, leading to impeachment threats and resignations. Keough now faces the challenge of moving ASLCC forward after the arduous events of last term and the new makeup of the student government.

Keough, who began his work in student government as an intern for the Oregon Student Association, made the sudden transition from president pro tempore of the Senate to vice president when former Vice President Dan Good abruptly resigned in October. Good’s resignation followed rising unease amid members of ASLCC regarding the behavior of Senator Diego Wilson.

In a meeting on Oct. 25, Good argued that Wilson violated ASLCC’s constitution and bylaws with his blatant “misogyny, sexual discrimination, emotional and verbal abuse and ableism.” According to Good, Wilson repeatedly misgendered individuals, interrupted fellow ASLCC members and was dismissive of mental health disabilities.

Good and Blyleven proposed the the impeachment of Wilson due to complaints from the student body, including documents from LCC students that remain anonymous, and concerns from other members of ASLCC that Wilson, according to Good, “has consistently made spaces feel unsafe through his attitudes and actions.”

Good resigned mid-meeting after Wilson dodged impeachment, leaving Keough next in line for vice president.

Amid the turmoil, Blyleven faced impeachment threats from a senator who wished to remain anonymous. The day before winter term of 2019, Blyleven officially resigned as president. Keough was next in line for president.

According to Blyleven, she had began discussing her resignation with Keough soon after Wilson was failed to be impeached.

This unsuccessful impeachment combined with the tension and harassment she experienced in the student government in 2018 led her to resign, Blyleven said. According to the former ASLCC president, even LCC’s President Margaret Hamilton and the college both failed to support her. Hamilton “refused my request to meet,” instead directing her to Vice President Paul Jarrell, and the college chose not to act upon her filed complaint for harassment and discrimination, she said. Blyleven views the events of 2018 as opportunities for self-growth, but admitted that her mental health and wellbeing took a toll due to these experiences.

“It was not a sustainable situation for my success as a student,” she said, “With all the stress, my anxiety disorder worsened and unfortunately turned into depression. I had a mental health crisis and did poorly in my classes because of it.”

Further commenting on her resignation, Blyleven added, “It is in my best interest to focus on my schoolwork rather than put all my effort into something that did not support and value me.”

Blyleven hopes to continue being a resource for ASLCC, and has confidence in Keough’s capability to be an effective leader.

“I have high hopes for Nick,” the former ASLCC president said, “and trust he will do great things for students with the rest of the year.”

Keough was unable to respond with details about his plans for his term as president by time of production. It remains unclear what goals Keough has for ASLCC this year and when the next student government meeting will be.