Column: SA: Don’t forget the graduates

The Hatchet’s staff editorial (“Avoid Rancor”) March 11 was right on target. Now that another bitter and bizarre election is behind us, it is time for students to unite behind Phil Robinson, whose goals of inclusion, diversity, openness and accountability are certainly worthy of our attention, not the neglect of prior administrations.

Somehow lost in the realization that Josh Singer’s “Working for Us” slate captured eight seats in the Senate and that Robinson must now deal with a significant opposition bloc, is the “Working for Us” group holds no majority of seats in the body. For some reason, it is often overlooked that the Student Association Senate is composed of 29 members, 16 of whom are graduate students. While the erstwhile Singer slate may have a majority of the 13 undergraduate seats, eight seats out of 29 constitutes no majority.

I certainly agree with The Hatchet’s editors that Robinson needs to reach out to all of the members of the SA Senate and have no doubt that he will do so. Both Robinson and Executive Vice President-elect Eric Daleo need to take those of us who represent graduate students into account as they attempt to build working coalitions to secure the passage of legislation. Daleo, especially, needs to realize that without support from graduate student senators, he has no ability whatsoever to block anything. Petty threats to students regarding the presidential election will not resonate well with my graduate colleagues.

Both Robinson and the graduate members of the Senate now have a great opportunity to build bridges and work together for the common interests of all students: graduate and undergraduate, full-time and part-time, resident and commuter. If Robinson is willing to build such a majority coalition, and if this majority coalition demonstrates that it is working in everyone’s best interests, I have no doubt that any members of the “Working for Us” slate who remain recalcitrant will ultimately fall into line as they see the popularity of Phil’s initiatives among their constituents.

I have spoken to Robinson and know that he is committed to working to improve the sorry situation, resulting in the mass apathy of students toward their SA. With Robinson’s landslide victory proving the support of the student body for his agenda, the gauntlet is now laid down for Daleo and the “Working for Us” slate: work with Phil toward his goals of inclusion, diversity, accountability and excellence or be relegated to infighting and irrelevance.

I support Robinson completely, and I fully believe as long as he continues to work toward these worthy goals, my graduate colleagues will as well.
-The writer, a Ph.D. candidate, is an SA

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