Osman's resignation shows courage not failure

By The Beacon | February 3, 2016 4:30pm

Khalid Osman resigned from his position as ASUP president Monday. While many are disappointed to see him leave his role with ASUP, The Beacon would like to commend the leader that Osman has been — and no doubt will continue to be — on The Bluff.

Osman stepped down from his presidency just as gracefully and humbly as he entered it by taking responsibility for any challenges, thanking those who were a part of the experience and looking positively toward the future. Most importantly, he stayed true to his personal beliefs and values, which have been a part of his public persona since his election.

Osman called his resignation “the most selfish decision (he has) ever made,” and seemed not to realize that he was simultaneously explaining a decision based in a very selfless line of thinking.

He truly believes his resignation is in the best interest of the student body, which he says has always been his top priority. And given recent campus-wide conversations about self-care, his willingness to acknowledge and share the personal motivations behind his resignation should be applauded.

“I failed to prioritize my family and overall well-being being in this position, and I felt that that led to my personal values being in misalignment,” Osman said. “In all honesty, I felt that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore, and when you’re not enjoying something, you’re not giving full effort. And if I wasn’t giving full effort and I was still taking student money, my heart wouldn’t let me do that.”

Osman and Grace Holmes entered their roles as president and vice president of ASUP last spring with the hope of making the associated student board more transparent.

Osman reinforced this commitment to this transparency in every interaction with The Beacon — always being willing to work with us and thoughtfully answer our questions.

It was his goal to engage with as many students as possible during his presidency. It wasn't uncommon to see Osman walking around campus, socializing in The Commons and leaving his ASUP office door open during Espresso UP, ensuring that he wasn't just the face of ASUP, but someone students could know and trust on a personal level.

He did this, too, in his work with The Beacon — giving voice to the student perspective, writing open addresses to the University community and taking note of the concerns and opinions other students were expressing.

Another one of Osman’s goals was to change the ASUP constitution. His proposal passed in the Senate last week and will be up for a student special election vote this month. Having seen this movement through as far he could and citing teamwork issues among the ASUP Executive Board, Osman felt now was the time to announce his resignation.

“Our vision for teamwork, cohesion and a common purpose hasn’t come to fruition throughout the course of the year, and as leader of the team I take responsibility for this,” Osman said. “I came in hoping to make change, and last week that change passed through Senate and now is just waiting for student body to approve. And I feel like, in my head, that main goal was accomplished.”

It would have been easy for Osman to think, “This will make me look bad,” or “This will draw too much criticism,” and continue to do a job that his heart wasn’t invested in.

But in this time of growth and change, we need a wholly invested leader of ASUP. And Osman knew that.

Having stepped down from a position he felt was challenging his personal beliefs, Osman can now continue to be a wholehearted student leader in other endeavors on campus.

He is a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Inclusion, and said he aims to make students feel more included on campus.

“I still have some other personal goals as a student leader, not specifically as ‘president’ but just as ‘Khalid,’” Osman said. “(The PAC on Inclusion) is something that even if I wasn’t president, I’m passionate in my heart about because I do think that the community is inclusive, but how do we remind students that we are?”

Osman will also remain connected with ASUP as the chair of the Senior Gift Committee.

It may be easy in the aftermath of an unexpected resignation, to point fingers and make judgments on decisions made that the student body was not aware of. But we encourage students to recognize the courage and self-awareness it took Osman to step back and realize his own limitations.

Elections for next year’s ASUP Executive Board will come up in March, and we encourage students not only to vote, but also to keep in mind the leadership qualities that Khalid demonstrated in considering who you want to take the helm in the coming year.

The Beacon would like to thank Khalid for his service to the University community and for being the kind of leader that any news organization who values awareness, transparency and fairness hopes to work with. We wish him and the ASUP Executive Board the best of luck through this transitional time and as they move toward the future.