Josh Akman: Hail to the chief?

In the wake of the controversial administration of former President George W. Bush and the criminal allegations against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Americans have plenty of reasons to distrust our chief executives.

Not only is the way that our executives govern questionable, but the standard to which we as citizens hold them seems to be plunging quicker than the stock market. Apparently, this trend is just as strong here on campus as in the rest of the country.

In June of last year, incoming SA President Vishal Aswani detailed his administration’s goals for this year. In a Hatchet article (“SA Releases Goals for School Year,” Jun. 13), Aswani described his shared vision as a “myriad of different projects, including his online test bank, and increasing the amount of money for student organizations.”

Now, more than seven months later, we have a barely functioning online test bank, an increased student fee that has shown few results and an unprecedented amount of discord in the executive branch. Counting the disaster that was Unity Ball, the lack of excitement and student involvement with the inaugural float and the complete incapacitation of the momentum and goodwill generated by the Capp/Kroeger administration, the feeling of helplessness is making another unwelcome appearance, this time locally.

Here, however, we have the ability to do something. Unlike the president and the governor, who are protected by constitutions, years of precedent, countless lawyers and other posturing politicians, our SA president ran on a campaign of openness and transparency. In fact, in what now appears to be a sad attempt for irony, President Aswani claimed an effort to “change the negative perceptions GW students have toward the SA.”

Unless he is using some sort of reverse psychology, a general failure to meet any registered goals won’t really help the perception.

The intention here is not to blindly criticize Vishal Aswani or his administration, but instead to make a point about the situation in which we find ourselves. While disgruntled constituents might not yet be able to remove the Illinois governor, the same can’t be said for our current SA president.

While he certainly hasn’t committed any crimes, nor made any monumental failures, Vishal should be judged by his lack of successes, not by his lack of mistakes. If his staff is unsatisfied and the students are unsatisfied, the GW student body seems completely impotent if nothing changes.

It may take a bold SA senator to call for his impeachment and subsequent removal, or a strong executive branch member to urge his resignation, but we must show that enough is enough.

Much like the SA itself, the procedures outlined in the SA Constitution for Censure, Recall and Removal could become a bureaucratic nightmare. But with the support of two-thirds of the senate a new president could be in place relatively quickly. Or, a proactive student who collects a petition from 10 percent of the student body could start the ball rolling.

While an impeachment would be completely unprecedented for the SA, the change would send a strong message to potential office seekers that they will be held accountable for their undelivered promises. Even though a replacement president would not have a very long term, it would show future SA leaders that there are consequences for failing to perform.

Though the SA might not be able to effect monumental changes, the success of Nicole Capp’s administration shows that the SA can noticeably improve student life. If we do nothing, we are proving one of two very disheartening conclusions. Either the SA has become so obsolete that we can’t even muster the effort to care how it’s run, or we are completely incapable as a student body to rise to the occasion and make a positive change. Either way, how very sad.

The writer, a junior majoring in criminal justice, is a Hatchet columnist.

Comment on this column – The Forum

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.