Student Association elections appear to be over, but after the latest round of challenges and contempt orders, anything seems possible. Thursday night the SA Student Court issued a summary judgement order that could do long-term harm to the SA by effectively declaring Roger Kapoor the new SA president while re-writing Joint Elections Committee campaign rules and chastising the committee for doing its job.
While he is the best candidate based upon his platform and ideas, Kapoor’s campaign displayed some serious ethical lapses. The focus of investigations into his campaign was a series of pizza parties for which Kapoor paid less than the regular advertised price for Papa John’s pizza. What clearer understanding could there be of the phrase “fair market value” than the regular listed, advertised price of a good or service? The court’s ruling that Kapoor’s discounted price – a price not available to every student despite cries to the contrary – could be considered the “fair market value” ignores common sense.
The court also should not have rebuked the JEC for investigating Kapoor’s use of discounts, an act well within the JEC’s jurisdiction and the nature of the original spending complaint. The Student Court decisions leaves SA election spending rules vague and sets a bad precedent for future JEC members simply trying to do their jobs.
But now that Kapoor’s election appears beyond challenge, he must work to unite a divided constituency, a task made even more difficult by the apathy of GW students. His goal should be to surpass the accomplishments of past SA presidents and actually improve student life on campus. Kapoor can begin by improving communication between the SA and the students it represents, but he must back up the rhetoric with action.
His first task is clearly to repair the SA, an organization universally characterized as in need of reform throughout the campaign. He should follow current SA President Dave Burt’s lead and cut the SA executive budget even further. He should trim the SA executive staff from an outrageous 120 or more students and make the SA’s operations as smooth and efficient as possible.
That staff, though, should be diverse and should represent the students it serves. Above all, Kapoor’s administration must always be truthful and open with students.