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by Jason Overman
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Wednesday, May 01, 2002
The Daily Cal is not accepting Calstuff posts in lieu of Sample Columns for Columnist applications, so I have to pound out two more samples.
So here's the second one, on President Wally. The trouble with it is I don't agree with it. I'm getting closer here, but I don't think I've captured the essence of the Adeyemo administration. There's a superb article waiting to be written on the aftermath of the Adeyemo Presidency, but this isn't it.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with President Adeyemo's work this year, despite what the Daily Cal and all the rival parties might say. He leaves office with a string of accomplishments to his credit, most notably the well-executed ASUC Ball and series of charity events. Nothing he's done this year has truly distinguished him from past Presidents, true, but he has embezzled no money and run a smooth office.
Which begs the question of why so many people and so many rival parties hate 'Cutter W' so much. And make no mistake: they hate him with a passion. Racist jokes at his expense float around the darker corners of the ASUC. Campaign slogan for Student Action: Black candidates, white creamy centers. Cal-SERVE criticizes his 'Bill Cosby' clothes, and last year's APPLE leadership had no trouble calling him a 'honky.' (Full Disclosure: So did I, until I came to my senses this year.)
Much of this can be dismissed as simple jealousy of his power, and sour grapes at losing. But it's not that simple. There's a very legitimate reason to criticize President Adeyemo: his Presidency could've been so much more. And it wasn't. He failed. But despite his failures to get One Campus off the ground or fulfill the potential of the Presidency, he acts unaccountable, dictatorial, and above all, arrogant.
The behind-the-scenes rap about Wally Adeyemo was that he can't come up with ideas on his own. So he decided to prove the doubters wrong, and ran a campaign based on one of the most ambitious ideas ever: the One Campus Initiative. It was the centerpiece of his campaign, he argued passionately for it, and he won. Back in April of 2001, he announced "his "One Campus Initiative" will allow the ASUC, the Office of Student Life and the chancellor's office to pool their resources and improve events on campus. The proposed activities include more speakers, concerts and events that "promote cultural sharing." '
Then the doubters got their revenge.
It wasn't until November that President Adeyemo unveiled his plans at all. Two months had already gone by. The plan as unveiled had nothing to do with OSL, nothing to do with the Administration, and very little involvement from existing institutions on campus. Its centerpiece was now community service of doubtful involvement from the actual Cal community, and a lot of money. Said APPLE Senator Frankenstein at the time "It's money toward a project that has not been defined and that no one has been involved in, at least from the senate's perspective," There was no new ideas here, and the Senate only cautiously allocated cash. But it could've been a start.
And then things started going downhill.
Not only did President Adeyemo's BIG IDEA not have anything new or big to it, he never even tried. He spent the year running worthwhile but relatively small-scale projects, not even spending all the money available in the One Campus account, which was refunded to the Senate. His most public act was cutting in line for Clinton tickets. His control over the Senate was minimal at best. His Successor as Student Action's candidate for President ran on a platform of pragmatic, low-visibility programs, a complete repudiation of the promised multi-year One Campus plan.
Yet President Adeyemo never seems to have realized how far he's sunk. His office is a potemkin village of Staff busy at something. He stonewalls and threatens the Daily Cal as if he's too busy to talk to the Press. He blames his problems on the Senate, on rival parties, and generally on other people.
So perhaps that's why so many people dislike President Adeyemo. ASUC Presidents have a glorious past. Perhaps their candidate could've fulfilled that tradition. Perhaps with some prodding and give and take OP could've really put on some excellent programs. But it didn't, and Adeyemo shows no sign of trying. The taste his Administration leaves is bitter, disappointed, and ugly. It could've been more.