Students do not always hold the Student Association in high regard. This year alone the SA was tarnished with financial scandals, investigations and resignations. With SA elections quickly approaching, candidates should evaluate the purpose of student government.
SA elections have a torrid history at GW. The scandals and political battles have attracted city media and influenced high levels of student apathy toward the SA. Eight candidates have announced their intention to run for SA president, nearly all of whom are running on the platform to “clean up” the organization.
All of the difficulties of the SA this year are no doubt the main reasons why the most students are running for SA president since 1992, and 16 students are running for six undergraduate senator seats in the Colombian College of Arts and Sciences. These students believe they can restore integrity to an organization that continues to baffle students by engaging in needless politicking and scandalous behavior. It remains to be seen if any of these candidates can live up to their promises.
The presidential hopefuls will do themselves and the University a lot of good by learning from past mistakes of previous SA candidates and keeping to their word of a professional election void of scandal and dirty politics – students deserve nothing less.
Candidates should address real concerns of the students. This SA class has failed to represent its constituents by seriously failing to tackle many issues. An increasing student population has led to an increase in on-campus activity and further involvement in campus life. Students are beginning to realize their lack of representation and want serious change prompted by the SA.
Candidates should address such issues as study abroad policy, continuing printing fees (possibly extending to residence halls), long 4-RIDE wait times, University use of Social Security numbers and students’ persistent desire for late-night eating options on campus. Simply passing shallow resolutions, as this year’s SA did concerning Social Security numbers and late-night eating options, is not enough. The SA is capable of actually getting things done – this is often forgotten in the midst of scandal and conflict.
Students deserve active advocacy from capable representatives – hopefully this new crop of potential student leaders can ably perform where the current SA class faltered.