SA senators said the Student Association’s elections next week will have only nine of 30 existing senators return to the ballot as candidates.
Many students not running for re-election said they are tired of politics and feel their efforts have gone unappreciated. Senior Scott Sheffler, JEC chair, said that typically more than half of senators run for re-election.
“Basically, all of the politics has made it the ineffective organization it has been,” said sophomore SA Sen. Fiona Conroy (U-CCAS). “I encourage whoever is selected to work towards the ideal of service to students rather than political rhetoric.”
Conroy, a second-year senator, has worked on many projects from dining services to election reform but feels “disillusioned” to the process.
“Although it has been trying at times, I love working for this organization. I’ve dedicated all of my time into it,” Conroy said. “But I’ve noticed a general disenchantment among students.”
Other senators who are not running for re-election expressed similar feelings about the internal politics and ineffectiveness of the organization.
“When I started on the SA, it was very positive. I was very excited to go
to meetings and make changes,” said junior senator Matt Hargarten (U-At Large). “As the year progressed, that excitement slowly started to fade, and I didn’t feel like I was doing anything anymore, not just me, but us as a body. I think that the SA is an ineffective body.”
Hargarten said there are good people who serve as senators, but many are just there for the power.
“There is a lot of scheming going on and slimy business,” Hargarten said.
Other senators commented on the ongoing in-house politics of the SA but said it could be avoided.
“The politics do get frustrating, but if you try not to get too personally involved, it’s not so bad,” said sophomore Sen. Michelle Bienia (U-ESIA).
Bienia spoke more positively of the SA and said she decided not to run again for academic reasons.
“I will say, I am a little sorry I am not running again. I would love to be a senator again, but I don’t have the time this semester to devote to a campaign,” Bienia said. “It really is a time factor and that I won’t be here in the spring because of study abroad, and I don’t think it’s fair for those who could keep the position for the whole year.”
Some senators running for re-election agree on what needs to change.
“The SA needs to be about consensus building not back-door politics,” said sophomore senator Dan Moss (U-SBPM).
Moss is campaigning for another term because he wishes to rid student groups of fees charged by the University.
Sophomore Steven Sobel said he was disappointed with the SA this year and hopes to change things.
“I feel when you look at other universities and schools, they’re much more effective at addressing student concerns and interests, and we fail to do that on a consistent basis,” Sobel said. “It’s the SA’s job to bring up those problems with the administration for change, and they’re not doing
Some senators accused some of their peers of serving in the SA for selfish reasons.
“The only way you want to be senator is as a stepping stone to vice president and then president,” Hargarten said. “There are Napolean complexes – they want to assert their power any way they can. Being in that position looks good on their resumes and feels good to show their power.”
Hargarten encouraged other students to run if they are willing to put in the required effort.
“I really enjoyed being on the Senate for the time that I was,” he said. “It wasn’t for me, but being a senator could be for a lot of other people.”