Editor weighs in on SGA debate

Joe Reynolds

With ongoing debates on the worth of the Student Government Association taking central focus on this page in recent weeks, I see it as only appropriate to make my position on the subject known.
First, when it comes to any man-made or man administered organization, there is no “all good” or “all bad” conclusion to be made. One can only judge the SGA on the progress of its actions in comparison to the projection of its goals.
With that being said, I cannot think of any specific manner in which the SGA has enhanced the quality of student life or served as a catalyst for change when change was necessary. Perhaps my ignorance of SGA achievement has more to do with poor public relations than poor implementation of policy, but either way, results are not evident.
What does the SGA do? The fact that the majority of the student body cannot answer the question is emblematic of the SGA’s virtually non-existent presence in campus life.
The SGA allocates money to other organizations and funds special events, but what does it do to perpetuate idealism, and support political and social progression?
The SGA is relegated to a system of banking, it does nothing to combat injustice or extend opportunity to the student body. The SGA has no real governing power in terms of policy.
SGA executive Dan Looney’s previous contention that SGA members are the “most concerned students on campus” is unsubstantiated and laughable. Since when does joining an organization automatically qualify one for a higher level of sensibility or concern?
This assumption is arrogance in its purest form. Concern springs from the mind and is represented by action, not by membership in a stagnant, self-congratulatory club.
The SGA’s political practices are a disgrace. The elections themselves are an affront to democracy. The SGA mission statement mandates that “candidates present their platforms before the student body,” but I am not aware of any public debate that has taken place on this campus in the past four years, nor have I ever seen one candidate express his or her viewpoint in writing in this newspaper.
Any literature that is passed out contains only slogan, not policy, and despite Looney’s objections, elections inevitably boil down to who knows the most people rather than who has the best vision.
Sean Hughes was taken to task by the SGA for claiming that the objective of its members was to “pad a resume rather than bring about change,” but it should be stated that it was I who first used that phrase in an editorial following Jon Kroll’s unsuccessful bid for the Town Council in the fall of 2001.
The SGA’s true colors were exposed during that event. It was brought to my attention that less than half its members voted in that election and while they certainly were not under any obligation to vote for Jon Kroll, with all the whining the SGA had done about the town, they were certainly obligated to vote.
I received no responses to that inflammatory editorial. Apathy had overtaken even insult. Nothing has changed since that day.