Abolish the SGA, Start AnewBy Wesley Vaughn | 11/01/2011 11:10pm
Our Student Government Association—in which I only include the Senate and executive branch—has functioned as a primary campus-dividing force through its disproportionate makeup, questionable policies and contested elections.
Along with failing to adequately perform its mandated duty of representing the student body’s voice to the administration, the SGA has proven by itself that it is no longer necessary and will continue to lose the trust and acknowledgement of students as long as it exists in its current form. Our SGA does perform admirable and helpful tasks, such as provide funding for student organizations and partnering with student organizations for events, but these actions are not enough to warrant its existence.
I propose that, with the dissolution of the SGA, a leadership council and an ancillary commission fill the representative void left by its absence.
The leadership council would consist of organization presidents or ambassadors, which would allow for a much truer representation of all students. Winning an SGA election requires only a large group of friends and some handshaking. Becoming the president or ambassador of an organization requires proving both commitment and leadership to other students who have worked with you. This would be much more effective than elections based on college affiliation as well, since this affiliation does not matter much in the grand scheme of the SGA Senate anyway.
The council’s responsibility would be to propose and vote on legislation and resolutions and to consider all legislation proposed by students. Essentially, the council would replace the existing SGA Senate but without the need to bother with an executive branch.
Two major hurdles with the council would need resolving though. First and foremost, an application process must be created for groups to gain a seat. This process would help avoid representation duplication as much as possible and the over-allocation of seats by setting a criteria that would require each group to prove in some way that it represents an unrepresented segment of campus.
Secondly, students who are not members of a particular organization for differing reasons may not receive the proper representation. This problem has always existed and cannot be easily addressed.
The commission’s responsibility would be implementing and enforcing legislation passed by the council. It would consist of students who would provide the legwork for the council’s vision. This branch would be the ideal opportunity for students who really want to answer and act upon the needs of all students. By removing the unnecessary inefficiency of an executive branch, the commission and council setup would create a clearer, more effective channel between students and the administration.
The SGA must address its immature executive-legislative divide and its consequent lack of legitimacy. Basically, the SGA needs to rebrand itself while reconfiguring to optimize its function on campus. A leadership council and commission would help that, despite the radical and idealistic nature of the idea.
But, for the SGA to more realistically regroup after a nasty past few weeks, it better take a page out of Don Draper’s book: “If you don't like what they're saying about you, change the conversation.” Openly discussing radical changes such as moving towards a council and commission setup for the SGA would only boost its reputation and bring in helpful outside opinions.
This column should be declared null and void if the SGA adopts a proposed code of ethics, though; I’m sure that’ll do the trick.
Wesley Vaughn is a senior majoring in public relations and political science. His column runs on Wednesday.