Recently, public debate over the purpose and function of the Student Association, specifically the Senate, has resumed. These attacks on the Senate are not unfounded and are quite valid. So far this year, the accomplishments of the Senate, the most significant branch of the SA, have been nominal.
The Senate, however, continues to discredit itself in front of the student body and the GW community by putting forth asinine proposals such as the possible impeachment of SA President Carrie Potter. While only a small minority of senators have made such suggestions, it appears to the GW student body that these elected officials are indeed playing in a pseudo-government fantasyland where real issues are ignored for purely political motivations.
If the Senate has issues with Ms. Potter, they should by all means make them public but please do not make such absurd suggestions as impeachment.
The Senate, and SA as a whole, has an extremely poor reputation on this campus as a collection of political hacks who seek power for the sake of seeking power. They are looked down upon as elitists who spend far too much time and money on themselves rather than on the students whom they are supposed to serve. The SA is neither well respected nor admired.
This should not be the case, however. The SA should be the center of leadership and activism at GW. It should be the voice of the students and an institution students can respect for its hard work and progress on issues that actually matter and bear significance.
The SA has incredible potential on the campus and it is squandered away by such foolish actions as fluff resolutions and talk of impeachment. Members of the SA have nobody to blame but themselves for their reputation. This is highly unfortunate considering the unique role senators could have on this campus as student leaders and effective activists.
The Senate, and the SA as a whole, is failing to fulfill its role as the leadership and guidance of the student body. What the SA should be and what the SA actually is are two very different things. It is time to stop arguing over baseless resolutions and examining the intricacies of parliamentary procedure and come down from the fourth floor of the Marvin Center and get involved.
The SA should make an effort to actively seek the participation of the student body, to reform itself in order to be a more effective institution and to focus on issues of substance that have real ramifications on the people who pay $30,000 a year to attend the University – people known as students. Questions such as bureaucratic waste in the SA and in the GW administration, campus security and the integration of the Mount Vernon student body into the GW community ought to be examined by our student government, as well as many other issues students are concerned about.
There are some glimmers of hope, however, with proposals such as the honest student fee and the push for increased student group funding. These things matter, and I salute the Senate for taking this initiative but more, much more in fact, still needs to be done.
The SA is here to serve the students. Senators are elected officials empowered to perform a job of public service to their fellow students and to voice our concerns. I challenge the current SA, both in the executive branch and in the Senate to step up to the task they were elected to do and to be model leaders on the GW campus. Anything less would be a failure and can only hurt the students.
-The writer is a senior majoring in international affairs and is chair of the International Affairs Society.