My name is Jonas Gungor and I am the former Student Government Association (SGA) President and alumni of the UWWC. I’m currently a junior and full-time student at UWM. My major is marketing/finance. I’m writing the UWM newspaper today because I was contacted by a former student/alumni of UWWC (now at UWM) who wishes to remain anonymous. My friend explained to me that the SGA of UWWC was being misrepresented and disrespected by former UWWC SGA president Benjamin Brenner Gerard. I’m now and will always be a humble representative of UWWC.
I love my old campus. When I first came to UWWC I did not know a single person. However, my fellow students and the community of Washington county embraced me with open arms and treated with nothing but respect and treated me with kindness.
I decided to pay it back by becoming a senator of the SGA in the spring of 2014 at UWWC. This is when I first met Gerard. Gerard was senator at the time. At the end of the semester, our campus held elections. Gerard ran for President and I ran for Vice President. We both were elected and I looked forward to working with my current/new SGA members.
In the fall of 2015, Gerard, out of nowhere and unsanctioned by the SGA, started looking into the finances of our college paper “Ubiquitous.” My fellow SGA members approached me in private and inquired to his reasoning. Nobody had any idea why Gerard had taken it upon himself to go after Ubiquitous. In any organization, communication is key. This is something that Ben did not understand. I loved our college paper. My favorite professor at UWWC is Professor David Ostrenga who is in charge of Ubiquitous. He is a kind and well respected professor and known as the “word smith” of UWWC.
Things came to boiling point at a SGA meeting in the fall of 2015. Gerard had put Ubiquitous on the agenda with the intent of trimming their meager budget. I contacted my friend Jenny Magruder who at the time was a reporter for Ubiquitous, and asked her to attend the meeting. Instead, she sent Professor Ostrenga. Gerard and Professor Ostrenga got into in verbal argument during the meeting. Gerard at one point started shouting at Professor Ostrenga, “I have the right to look into your finances sir,” and “I have the right!”
We were all shocked.
The President is supposed to be a leader. An example to other students, at no time is it acceptable to yell at faculty member. Unfortunately, Gerard’s solo mission did not stop there. He continued his personal campaign, even after several attempts by SGA members to get him to drop the issue. He continued to embarrass the SGA by these actions. The fact that he says we were an, “informal group that met every week or two weeks” is a lie. Debbie Butschlick, the SGA advisor, can confirm we held regular weekly meetings. He was the one who absent about 40% of the time.
Gerard continued to miss meetings. He continued to show a lack communication with the SGA. The straw that broke the camel’s back was in the spring of 2016. Gerard was contacted by the Red Cross to promote the upcoming blood drive through the SGA. He did not inform anyone. A blood drive is a serious matter “lives were at stake.” I was approached by several SGA members who had enough. We moved forward with impeachment proceedings. If Gerard decided to attend our meetings or had taken the time to talk to our SGA advisor, he would have learned of these proceedings. At the time, he was absent from school for a month. Butlschlick guided us through every step of the impeachment process. She made sure (as she always did) the SGA followed school policy. Gerard’s excuse of “I was saving face for the SGA” is another lie. No matter what he thought or said, we were going to impeach him.
The day of impeachment Ben did not show up to campus. He sent an email 3 minutes before the meeting started. At the end of this letter was his resignation. We decided to show Gerard respect, so instead of impeaching him, we accepted his resignation. I was then honored and proud to accept the position of President.
My goal was simple: to be a positive voice for my fellow classmates and be a strong leader; to pay back all kindness that was shown to me by everyone in Washington County. I could not have done it without my fellow SGA members and the all the faculty at UWWC. I’m now new at UWM, but I’m already falling in love with our campus. Everyone here has been so nice to me. I will do my best to pay everyone back by getting involved on campus and in the community just like I did at UWWC.