This page started out the semester commending the Student Association for its early productivity in securing various popular initiatives, from the GW Reads program to Colonial Invasion to Safeway’s acceptance of GWorld. It is therefore disappointing that this year’s governing body has gone from promising to petty. The most recent SA meeting Tuesday actually settled two poignant issues but the progress made was tainted by tensions between different members.
At the meeting SA Sens. OG Oyiborhoro (CCAS-U), Eugene Beckley (CCAS-U), whom The Hatchet recently praised for spearheading the cause for divestment, and two other senators walked out after the vote to approve online voting for the upcoming spring SA election. Those who left the meeting after the vote felt that they were not being granted a chance to speak, hinting at racism. Executive Vice President Brand Kroger commented in a news release, “The accusations are more than baseless, they’re silly. The minutes of the meeting prove that I called upon every Senator who wanted to speak and the rules and regulations were followed.” These minutes, examined by Campus News Editor Andrew Ramonas, show that only two senators spoke more than Oyiborhoro and that each of the dissenting senators had at least one opportunity to speak. Kroeger must make efforts to ensure that senators have an equal opportunity to speak.
As with any organization, there are internal issues and nuances that the student body as a whole may not be aware of, and we certainly hope that the SA is operating in a style appropriate to a body that represents all GW students. In any case, the senators that choose to leave not only abandoned the SA, but also failed to live up to their responsibilities to the students that elected them in the first place. Walking out from a meeting may make a loud statement, but it certainly does not allow serious opinions to be voiced effectively. Such superfluous conflict is, as SA President Nicole Capp stated in a news release, “reminiscent of the old SA.”
The actual issues that were addressed at the meeting offer promising initiatives for the spring SA election. The call for online voting offers several advantages, including the need for less money spent on voting stations and possible increased voter participation. Last year student voting increased by 11 percent when voter stations included computers; how many more students would be willing to vote from the comfort of their own homes? The occasional student that does not have access to the Internet from their residence still has a multitude of computers at their availability, from classroom buildings to Gelman Library to the Marvin Center. Since students would need to provide specific identification information at the time of voting, they would not be able to cast multiple votes, nor would others be able to vote for them. As an organization that most students choose to simply ignore, the SA is right in trying to make voting a more accessible activity.
The other significant issue addressed was the passing of an amendment to discontinue the use of slates in SA elections. Last spring this page called for just such a measure, emphasizing how slates often fail to secure the executive position, leading to inefficiency caused by a split between executives and the senate. The abolishment of slates also means that individual students that want to get involved will have more of a fair shot at an elected position. The question of money is bound to come up, and the simple truth of the matter is that money will always be helpful, regardless of slates, but it is by no means the determining factor.
The SA of this year seemed to have overcome the usual pettiness and ineffectiveness that had marked administrations of the past. All of the productivity we have seen out of the fall semester will be sure to pale in comparison to internal squabbles, taking away from the numerous accomplishments from the body as a whole.