As a recent graduate of the GW (`99) I have to say that I have watched in sadness, disgust and humor as the drama of Phil Meisner and the Student Association has unfolded.
When are GW student leaders going to realize what their jobs, duties and responsibilities are? And, more importantly, when are they going to realize that being involved in the SA is not the be-all, end-all, supreme GW experience?
I was one of the independent observers appointed by the Student Court last year to recount the SA presidential election results, thus I feel that I have something useful to add.
Yes, there were flaws in the system. Yes, I knew before leaving GW in May that Ed Meinert was not enrolled as a student when he ran for the presidency. Yes, I knew that Ed had been stealing from close friends and advisors during the election. Yes, I know why Phil missed Commencement.
Yes, there were and are flaws in the Joint Elections Committee Charter. But that is not the point. SA politics, the very ones that have crippled the SA for the last year, are ludicrous. That is all that I want the GW community to understand.
When you leave Foggy Bottom and GW, and move on to jobs, higher education, family or whatever your life has in store, it is not SA politics that you care about. It is the education that you have received that you think about. (And as I sit as a post-graduate at one of the oldest and best universities in the United Kingdom, I can tell you that it is a superb education.)
It is the friends that you have made that you think fondly of, it is the midnight monument walks, basketball, the Marvin Center, Thurston, the ridiculous Hippo and all of the other wonderful things in the glossy GW brochures that you think about, not the SA. I value the nights I spent in the Lion with my roommate and friends or my time on the Hill far more than the hours that I spent recounting ballots with the JEC.
The average GW student may already be aware of that, but I fear that the SA pundits are not. And if that is the case, they are missing out on the most important part of college and the most unique part of GW. It is of the utmost importance that they do get it into their heads that they are not going to college at more than $30,000 a year to be in student government.
If that simple lesson is not learned then no SA, no matter who it is led by, will be able to effect change in any way, do any good for any one, or be anything but a rag-tag group of ne’er-do-wells looking to brown nose the administration.
Simply enjoy college and D.C.; bask in the fact that for four years we are privileged to explore and learn. I did not realize how incredibly lucky I was to be at GW until I left. Appreciate it while you are there. Bollocks to the SA and to student politics.
There are better things in life.
-The writer, a 1999 graduate of GW, is a graduate student at The University of Edinburgh (Scotland).