To see the words SA and dubious in the same headline is not uncommon, especially in The Hatchet, but what I believe was important about Drew Holland’s piece on Jan. 24 was something that wasn’t in the text. It was his position in the SA – he has none. He is a regular GW student with an acute mind that can sense when something smells a little rotten (like Skip Oliva’s piece on Jan. 27, p. 5, Baxter’s noble election reform).
It is an interesting reflection to make, a regular student whose kind and whose opinion the Student Association presently likes nothing more than to exclude, has correctly raised a red flag. Some governments that are elected by the people they represent actually heed this type of warning sign, but not this SA – it criticizes and scold the electorate, Leave governing to us! We know best! Don’t concern yourself with these matters! Oliva, who has been involved in the Student Association well before we arrived at GW, and will probably be involved well after we leave, has made an interesting commentary for himself and the administration he is part of.
The Joint Elections Committee, or in the revised Baxter, Leu vernacular, the former JEC has been a pooled election effort for more than 20 years. In fact, in the SA Constitution, a document that’s loosely followed at best, it is stated that there shall be a joint (emphasis on joint) elections committee. Moreover, and pointed as the theme of Holland’s piece, it just makes common sense to have your election effort pooled – it will increase turnout, lessen cost and effort and check the group’s own internal politics by having other organizations involved.
However, and here’s the crux of the whole thing, if you have other groups involved you can’t control and influence the election as when you would govern the process yourself. Back when I was on the scene, a millennium ago, I, together with Ruth Abu-Sahid, chair of the Program Board, Mike Petron, chair of MCGB and Jason Anthony, advisor to the JEC put together a reformed charter that included all three groups. After my untimely departure and Leu and Baxter’s arrival on the scene that charter was sacked, the SA removed from the three-way compact and Baxter named supreme czar of the elections.
Ultimately, you and I will have no say in these matters because Sen. Baxter never was elected and doesn’t need your approval to do what he is doing. His roommate, girlfriend, etc. and our president, Caity Leu, functions under the same set of circumstances and has no need to worry about ever being held accountable for what she has done. Furthermore, Oliva has made the perfect emissary for the administration of which he is a part. There’s no care for what is right or what students think and want. I guess we are getting what we deserve.
I have stayed silent for a while on matters such as these and I bear no ill will toward those who removed me. I have born injuries that Oliva’s slanders of criminal and corrupt politician can’t begin to compete with. I applaud those who have made strides in helping students because efforts such as those transcend the other ugliness in the organization. What I do take great offense to and I am joined by the average student personified in Holland is corruption, nepotism and the wholesale betrayal of values that we all hold in common. The SA and its flawed institutions apparently allow these wrongs and others to happen at the hands of its leadership. So, I suppose we are getting what we deserve.
To Oliva’s warning, be careful of the students you vote for (Meisner, Sadler, etc.). I think there is a more appropriate and timely warning. Be careful of the students that you don’t vote for (Baxter, Leu, etc.).
-The writer is former SA President.