Editorial: SGA must cater to student concerns, not lofty ideals

The Signal hates to say “We told you so.” But, like we forecast in last week’s editorial, the referendum to create the new vice president of equity and diversity position within the Student Government Association (SGA) passed with only a mere 3 percent of the campus community contributing a vote.

That’s 187 of approximately 5,600 students enrolled at the College. Also, if we assume that every member of SGA voted, of which there are around seventy, that leaves us with just over 100 members of the student body at-large who cast votes.

SGA should’ve realized the problem it was facing when they drew an audience of none to the scheduled information session on the position, should’ve done more to ensure a larger turnout at the referendum. What were class presidents or the senators designed to represent the interests of the College’s seven schools doing to reach out to their constituents, to make sure they were informed about the bill, what it means, how it will affect them, how it will change SGA?

In the American political system the amendment of a constitution, be it on the state or the federation level, is a rigorous process. Ideally, SGA would hold itself to a similar standard.

While yes, a two-thirds vote is required in the general assembly before an amendment is passed off as a referendum to the student body, no voting standards beyond a simple majority are required once the vote is put to the public.

It seems appropriate that a minimum number of voters should be necessary on an issue as large as amending the SGA constitution.

Likewise, perhaps it’s high time SGA revive the push for online voting it investigated in recent years before scrapping. The more outlets students have to vote, the more likely they will be to cast a ballot.

It seems laughable for SGA to somehow believes it has spoken to student concerns on this issue, as, clearly, for the 97 percent who did not rush out to the polls last week, this was a non-issue. What we were given is barely tantamount to democracy.

But perhaps this points to a larger problem with our student government at the College. It seems like an organization more committed to throwing words around, to talking grandly of high ideals and vaunted principles instead of focusing on the real issues affecting students. Students don’t seem to feel that SGA is doing enough to affect palpable change on campus, and therefore don’t feel a need to listen when the organization comes calling them to referendum.

So, now we have a vice president of equity and diversity. Granted, a lot of us don’t have a place to live next year. And many of us feel we’re being gouged for our meal plans. And we’re going to have to start paying if we go beyond a set paper quota in the labs. What we do have is an SGA more than willing to throw on some gilded titles in what is regrettably seeming more and more like a game of political make believe.