In my previous life as a “newsie,” I had to go to a lot of Student Association Senate meetings. I probably have been to more of those meetings than half of the current SA senators, not to mention the current president.
Maybe that is why I am so perplexed by what has been going on in the SA this year. As much as I have tried to stay away from it (and I find I am living a saner life because of it), I can’t help but look at some aspects of what is going on now with utter confusion.
Not many people want the job of SA president. Let’s be honest with ourselves – there is a lot of butt-kissing involved. But President Phil Meisner made it really clear to us that he was ready, lips perked and all. He fought hard to win the election, struggled to be placed back on the ballot after being kicked off for missing a meeting and staged a write-in campaign with a magnitude no one expected. Then, when all looked lost for Meisner, he wound up in a runoff for the top spot and clinched victory.
But my question is after all that hard work to get the job, why hasn’t Meisner shown much interest in the job? He has, in five short months, shown many people in the University community that he cares little about both the obligations and privileges the job entails.
The laundry list of both errors in judgment and flat-out mistakes is huge. Everyone makes wrong decisions, but what he has done is take “sleeping on the job” to a new level. He has (in no particular order):
– Missed Commencement on the Ellipse last May, leaving GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg looking in all directions after introducing him specifically.
– Skipped meetings with University officials, including Trachtenberg.
– Ignored requests from administrators for input on issues, including whether Commencement should stay on the Ellipse.
– Side-stepped the necessary approval process before authorizing the expenditures for fireworks during Welcome Week.
– Minimized the amount of information he gave senators for his budget request, fitting it all on one sheet of paper.
And the list goes on.
Now, Meisner is receiving money from me and every other University student. Therefore, we need some assurance that he is going to be a little more responsible. I know there are tons of freshmen waiting to help out on the fourth floor of the Marvin Center in any way they can. It’s about time our esteemed leader utilized them and got some work done.
When Meisner was originally kicked off the ballot last spring, he appealed to the court, claiming that his tardiness of a mandatory meeting was a fluke and would never happen again. One of the student judges asked whether Meisner’s actions were indicative of what his presidency would be like. He had no idea what he had just foreshadowed.
In my opinion, Meisner worked too hard at trying to become president to do so little as president. And I am not talking about switching the University to Coke. Students took a chance on him, expecting the same kind of enthusiasm they saw during his campaign. And he frankly hasn’t lived up to it.
Now, I am not going to mention the “I” word because, frankly, no one should care that much. I am just saying, Mr. Meisner, that people are watching what you are doing, or in this case, what you are not doing, and they are disappointed. We want to see the enthusiasm, the gusto, that you showed us before. The writer is special projects editor of The Hatchet.