It's time to dissolve our worthless Student Government AssociationBy John Speer | 03/19/2014 11:00pm
Earlier this week, one of my fellow columnists wrote about the need to get rid of the Student Government Association. As someone who has been on this campus for six years and will earn both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Capstone, I could not agree more.
A Student Government Association ideally aims to enhance the University environment by providing programs, activities and leadership to the student body. This leadership ideally reflects the groups and interests of the larger student body, and the governing organization is accountable and attentive to the needs of students.
Our duly elected representatives should proactively develop and support the student voice to the administration and work for the improvement of campus life for current and incoming students. Unfortunately, our SGA never functioned this way, and most likely never will. Consequently, given its limited utility and high budget, I can only recommend that we dissolve an organization no longer relevant to students or reflective of the diversity of student groups and needs.
Our SGA is compromised by rampant nepotism, corruption and greed. These are not debatable characteristics. They simply are representative of our SGA and the machine that runs the election process (pun intended). Independent and apathetic students alike are aware of this fact, and many chose not to vote because of it.
Yet, I contend that it is not out of disenchantment that voter turnout remains low or because students are tired of not hearing their voice in the SGA plans. It’s sheer and simple disinterest. The SGA no longer serves any purpose beyond grooming brown-nosers and silver-spoon political hopefuls for future offices in the state. They are a microcosm of our present corrupt and useless legislature.
The SGA works strenuously to facilitate “Better Relations Day” to bring unity between Auburn University and Alabama, but what do they do to foster unity among the diverse groups of University of Alabama students? More importantly, why do they need our tuition money and fees to do it? They sponsor trips to Montgomery so students can see our legislature at work, but so do many high schools and other student organizations. They rigidly maintain block seating and design elaborate ticket allocation systems, but whose interests do these programs serve?
The SGA proclaims many great “victories” on behalf of championing the student interest, but many of these “wins” only reveal to the student body the extent of their folly and our own despair at being represented by a lot of fools. Their victories are little more than illusions and platitudes designed to allow the senior representatives hollow words to pontificate in their senior columns.
Our SGA’s real accomplishments lie in their ability to herald national embarrassment when their inherently racist structure is plastered in major media organizations or when their corruption dares to taint a city election and meddle with the futures of parents with children in public schools. What do we need from an organization which proves time and again that the only interests they serve are their own?
The SGA long ago became destructive of the ends which it was designed to achieve, and it does not derive its power from the true consent of those it governs. Accordingly, we should not alter it, but instead abolish its existence and remove the stains that corruption and negligence nurture and grow like weeds.
Much of what the SGA does can easily be handled by coordinated efforts from the division of Student Affairs and The SOURCE Board of Governors. Alabama is already composed of hundreds of student organizations in which students work to achieve their goals and pursue their interests. This is why so few students care for the activities of the SGA. Beyond the FAC, which allocates money to student organizations, the SGA offers no legitimate function.
Let us institute a new organization whose principles are founded on ideas we share and whose powers work effectively to secure our safety, productivity and happiness here at the Capstone. We have functioned well without an SGA before. We would be well-advised to consider doing so again.