SA Senate palm card excuses weak

After reading Thursday’s Forum about palmcarding on campus, I was infuriated at the level of arrogance of our Student Association senators. After a petition to end palmcarding on campus resulted in a vote in the Senate, our SA senators completely ignored the demands of their constituents and voted unanimously to preserve the practice on campus.

The Forum article by J.P. Blackford was an attempt to defend the actions of our senators. However, it was nothing more than a blatant slap in the face of all students on campus. I have always known that many students who get elected to the SA suddenly develop ego problems where they somehow think they are more important than us regular students. However, I could not believe just how ignorant, arrogant and pompous our current senators have become.

The issue of palmcarding during campus elections is very simple. No one wants it! Our senators are supposed to be our representation in the student government. However, this Senate has made it abundantly clear that last year’s voters were just pawns they used in their little game to make each other feel important. First, they completely ignored the overwhelming desire of the entire student body to ban palmcarding. Blackford even acknowledged this fact in his own article when he wrote: “Does anyone like palmcarding? I am sure the answer is a resounding no.”

Our current senators are trying to hide behind the First Amendment in their defense of continuing the practice of palmcarding. This is a very bad argument as the University has many rules and regulations in place restricting campaign activities. Blackford himself boasted about a rule he has sent to SA President David Burt, which would restrict the age-old campaign practice on campus of handing out “giveaways” in an attempt to “bribe” voters.

Based on our senators’ arguments to preserve palmcarding, one could argue that restricting “giveaways” is a First Amendment issue as well. This is hypocrisy at its finest in our so-called leadership. The fact of the matter is that restricting palmcarding or any other campaign activity is not a free speech issue because the rules imposed create a level playing field that all candidates are required to follow.

My favorite part of Blackford’s piece is the part in which he seems to imply that our senators are smarter than other students on campus. Blackford argued that the reason the senators vote on this issue using their own opinions rather than the nearly unanimous opinions of those who elected them is because “those of us in the Senate possess an experience few others on this campus do.”

He goes on to say that if the students on this campus are not happy with the decision the Senate has made, then they can circulate a petition around campus collecting 10 percent of the students’ signatures to force a referendum. How very brave of our current Senate to offer this olive branch of democracy to us inferior students who do not understand why we need palmcarding on campus since we do not have the experience “those of us in the Senate possess.”

However, I’m sure that Senator Blackford and his colleagues will be shocked to learn that we below average students are smart enough to understand that the rules concerning palmcarding are written in the JEC Charter, which is controlled by the SA Senate. Collecting signatures in order to gain ballot access for a referendum is done in order to change the SA Constitution, not the JEC Charter.

The only reason our senators voted to keep palmcarding in place on campus is because they do not have the social skills, ambition or courage to come down off their ivory tower and meet the rank and file on campus. SA President David Burt was correct in his Forum article Thursday when he said Senators needed palmcarding to have any chance of re-election because they do not know their constituents. They are trying to use palmcarding in order to win the name identification battle to win election. This makes it quite clear that they really do not care what their constituents think, and they do not care about the issues affecting our campus. All they seem to care about is how well they are doing in their resume building process. The reason Senator Blackford offered the referendum option to students is because he knew it would allow all the current senators to use palmcarding one last time to get re-elected. After that, they do not care because they will not be here anymore.

In general when it comes to elections, palmcarding is an effective campaign tool. Here at GW however, it is perhaps the only issue on which our diverse campus can agree. We do not want palmcarding anymore! On the fourth floor of the Marvin Center Jan. 30, the Senate will be forced to vote on this issue again. I would like to urge all students to contact your SA senators and tell them to vote to ban palmcarding, or you are going to vote to ban them from being senators.

-The writer is a senior majoring in criminal justice.

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