In the Oct. 5 issue of The GW Hatchet, Sens. Beth Lester and Heath Hansen defended the Student Association as “the only group on campus that represents every single GW student” (“SA actively represents students,” p. 4). While these two SA senators were correct in their definitive description of what the SA is supposed to be, they both lost sight of what the SA actually is.
In his Oct. 1 op-ed, Jason Haber addresses a real problem with the SA. Haber asked, “Where is the Senate?” (p. 5) Indeed, where is the Senate this year? As an SA official, I can tell you first hand that the only accomplishments the Senate has achieved thus far are appointing new senators, holding a poorly-organized internship fair, passing an at-par SA finance bill and miscellaneous fluff resolutions.
The accomplishments of the Senate, the most significant branch of the SA as its elected body, have been nominal.
Governments’ responsibilities include making their constituencies a part of the process. The Senate’s solution to this problem is holding poorly-attended town hall meetings, sending e-mails and patting each other on the back, telling each other what a great job everyone else is doing. This is not government, it is a joke and a waste of a lot of time and energy.
I do not want to engage in debate of whether the Senate is great. Just ask any one around you: “What do you think of the SA, the Senate?”
The typical response will be, “They don’t do anything for me,” or “We have a Senate?” There is a reason for this and it is not that college students are apathetic. Its because our senators, thus far, have been pathetic.
Senators should be meeting students, discussing their concerns, bringing the general student body’s thoughts to the Senate floor – not drinking coffee and defending an institution that has little respect among the general student body.
The only contact I have had with my senators is my involvement in the SA and even that is limited. If my contact is so insignificant and I’m a part of the SA, imagine any other student who has nothing to do with this organization.
As new members of the student Senate, I call upon Ms. Lester and Mr. Hansen to do what their colleagues should be doing – knocking on doors, meeting people, discovering what the thoughts of students are and bringing these concerns, insights and problems to the SA.
Maybe through their example, the rest of the Senate will finally get it, and leave this pseudo-government fantasyland where the Senate currently resides.
-The writer is SA director of tuition action.