Student Association President Kris Hart, a junior, announced Tuesday that he will not be seeking a second term in office, although many – including Hart himself – once thought otherwise. While he eventually decided against running again, it is important to consider whether or not any SA president – or other elected SA officials – should have the ability to seek multiple terms in office.
Previous experience shows that term limits would have a positive impact on SA politics. Sen. J.P. Blackford (G-SEAS) – a senator since the incoming freshman class was in elementary school was at the center of a controversy in which SA funds were allegedly used to purchase alcohol for minors last year. Despite resigning due to the controversy, Blackford was elected back to the Senate for this academic year after receiving two votes. Scandals such as this have gone a long way to instill general apathy toward the SA in the student body. This apathy often leads students to vote for senators simply because they are a familiar name, not because of their policies.
Sen. Asher Corson (U-CCAS) has called upon the SA Senate to pass a rule imposing 5-year term limits on its members. This page agrees in principle with his proposal, but such term limits should be set much lower. The SA should set term limits on its senators at two years. This step is absolutely necessary as a method to help eliminate corruption as well as a way to re-engage students in SA politics. In addition, to enhance the flow of new ideas into the system, SA presidents should be prohibited from seeking re-election, allowing new leaders to emerge.
The SA has been wracked by scandals in the past. And because many of the individuals involved in these situations are still permitted to return to their posts, such corruption still has the potential to resurface. Imposing term limits on elected officials will be a positive step in restoring faith in student government.