Josh Akman: A new era for the SA?

Student Association President-elect Julie Bindelglass has a tough job ahead of her. After being two votes shy of losing the presidency straight away, she just barely won the run-off. What’s worse, the runoff took place without the inarguable favorite, who was controversially kicked off the ballot.

Now, she must face the new “Abolish the SA” movement, which has seen coverage on Facebook and in The Hatchet. To sum it up, when she takes office, she will be working without a mandate, with a plurality of the students having voted for someone else and a popular movement to completely abolish the organization she’s set to run. Yikes!

One approach for Bindelglass would be to ignore everything and start fresh. She’s the president now, regardless of how she got there, and she should begin her administration like any other, right? As tough as it may be, Bindelglass must ignore this urge. This is not any other administration, nor was this any other election. For her to fulfill her first promise made as president-elect – to regain the trust of the students – she must acknowledge her unorthodox rise to the presidency and engage her critics.

First, she must reach out to Kyle Boyer, for reasons that are both pragmatic and political. Out of the 4,080 votes originally cast for SA president, nearly 40 percent were for him, and after a year as executive vice president, Boyer has a lot to offer to the incoming president. His experience both presiding over and serving in the SA senate makes him a great resource for Julie, in either an official or unofficial capacity. Though the controversy surrounding the election might turn him off to further SA involvement, his valuable experience should not be ignored and the incoming administration should try to utilize his knowledge even as an informal adviser.

The Abolish the SA movement should also be engaged. Through no fault of her own, the previous administration was so ineffective that students are actually questioning whether our SA should even continue to exist. Instead of ignoring this movement as a temporary fad, she should seriously consider some of the merits in their proposals.

One of the key tenets of the proposal, different student “unions” operating independently, is definitely worthy of consideration. Not only could their work be more specific and therefore more focused, but their failures won’t be held against the entire administration. As we saw this year, the colossal failure of Unity Ball was a strike against the entire SA and severely tainted any other policy accomplishments they hoped to achieve.

Separating into more specific aims would also allow the students that serve on these unions to generate some sort of expertise in the area. The academic affairs union, for example, would be able to throw themselves into important academic issues, such as advising, without trying to juggle other SA initiatives.

Though it might not be the beginning she envisioned, president-elect Bindelglass does have an opportunity. By reaching out to Kyle Boyer and acknowledging the merits of the SA critics, she can show that both she and the SA can make a valuable impact on campus.

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

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