Start governing, stop bickering

It’s easy to forget sometimes that, just like the Bowling Club, the Jewish Student Union (JSU), the TCNJ College Republicans, the Progressive Student Alliance (PSA) or even The Signal, the Student Government Association (SGA) is just another student organization.

Certainly, SGA’s mandate, according to its constitution, is somewhat more sizable than that of its peers – which is not, of course, to make light of the duties of other student organizations – to act as an “advocate at all levels for the benefit and betterment of the students of the College,” and to “serve as the students’ voice in the governance of their college.”

But SGA serves as a mouthpiece for students essentially through advocacy only; the group derives little special authority from the College in its governance. According to the 2005 Governance Structure and Processes passed by the Board of Trustees (BOT) on Oct. 28, SGA has members sitting on the College’s Committee on Planning and Priorities, one of five standing committees in the College’s governance process. One student trustee, Stefanie Nieves, serves on the BOT. She is not granted a vote on all the matters that come up before it.

Again, we do not mean to downplay SGA’s role as a governmental body serving on behalf of the students – we merely mean to say that, if they hope to fulfill their self-proclaimed role as an advocate for students, they have their work cut out for them.

They certainly shouldn’t waste their time getting sidetracked by issues like the anonymous Weblog “SGA Insider” ( whose author, Dan Beckelman, was outed last week and forced to resign from his position as senator at-Large.

This comes after a year in which SGA was consumed by infighting, with members spending their political time and energy calling for the resignation of former executive president Pedro Khoury.

This infighting was resurrected last week, as, after Beckelman was revealed as the author of the contentious blog, Kevin Kelly, vice president of Legal and Governmental Affairs threatened a libel lawsuit.

Apparently, he isn’t familiar with his libel law because, in the context of the ‘SGA Insider,’ he is a public figure and therefore you can say anything you want about him.

We’re glad Beckelman saw it fit to step aside and, so far, has refrained from posting further rants on his blog. SGA doesn’t need to be strangled by internal squabbling; the task of student advocacy is difficult enough.