Volume 95, Issue 63

Thursday, January 24, 2002
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Why now?

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

Why now?

According to the Hollywood script, just before his death the main character comes clean to the world, explaining his life and divulging his secrets as his last breath escapes his lungs.

Duane Baxter, as usual, failed to memorize his lines.

In a casual, if not sloppy, latenight e-mail to his council, Social Science Students' Council president Baxter announced his resignation Tuesday. While asking his former council-mates to remain committed to their constituents, Baxter announced his departure from a group he has left in shambles.

How different things were a year ago.

Baxter was once the rising star of campus politics. Speculation had it Baxter would trounce rival Chris Sinal in the University Students' Council presidential race and assume his place as the king of Western's student body.

Then it all fell apart.

Money was lost, a budget lay in tatters, motions of impeachment were flying and a students' council became a laughingstock. Through it all, Baxter vainly attempted to stay true and stand tall.

Resign he would not. Impeachment he would fight. And then, quietly, one night he sent his council an e-mail and politely excused himself from a position he had fought to maintain.

The ever-popular "personal reasons" were sighted, but such an explanation creates more questions than it answers.

Why exactly did he quit and, most importantly, why now?

Baxter owes his constituents answers to these questions, just as he owes it to them to repair the damage done under his leadership.

And, in that sense, the Baxter presidency is much like a cowardly hit-and-run accident.

With a council in disarray, Baxter swore he would lead by example and get the situation under control in time for a new president to take power and rebuild.

Instead, Baxter quit on his council, quit on his constituents and bade a hasty retreat.

But most disturbing is the lack of full disclosure.

After fighting for their lives, politicians don't just quit. They don't just give up. They don't just walk away quietly with very little, or no, explanation at all (unless they're Brian Tobin).

Much like his shortened stint as president, Baxter's resignation stinks – it reeks of unanswered questions.

Though it seems clear we are expecting far too much, Baxter must set the record straight.

While your year has played itself as more of a tragic, disaster flick, its time, Duane, to refer to that magical Hollywood ending we're all awaiting.

Call a press conference, stand before your council or send another latenight e-mail – it doesn't matter anymore how you do it, just that it gets done.

Don't waste anymore of your constituents' time – utter your last political breath, provide some much-needed plot resolution and make your long-awaited, much-anticipated, final exit.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001