Editorial: Student GovernmentApril 24, 1997
Lack of power, fervor of races often doesn't match performance, promises
Now that you are in office, make it count.
The final votes have been counted, the decisions are in. Gannon Sims and Mark Freeman won their run-off races to become student body president and internal vice president, respectively.
Students deserve some credit. They came out in record numbers for the runoff, which may be a testament to the campaigning by the candidates.
The races were more entertaining this year than last year. There were more choices for student body officers this year, with the exception of external vice president, and by all indications, the campaigns were clean.
With all that said, one fact remains: our student government still has little power. It is a body of influence; a suggestion box with a checkbook. For right now, this situation is the best the students have.
As for the questions of student body officers holding offices in other organizations, the student body needs consistency. The constitution must be either amended to be practical or followed by the letter in its current form. It is unfair to students who would make the commitments to more than one organization to see some candidates get away with what they want and others get caught.
Granted, some groups, such as Mortar Board, could not function correctly without all members in leadership roles. These offices may require a minor time commitment, but should we punish the overachievers? The original meaning of the clause against holding dual leadership roles could also have been implemented to prevent conflicts of interest among congress members.
Does the constitution mean any office, or just an 'executive' office? The definitions of these vary from organization to organization. Can the current rule be fairly applied to all groups? Not likely.
Regardless of whether or not the constitution is outdated, candidates should know what it says and have enough regard for its purposes to stick to it until it is changed.
And if it doesn't change, then they need to stick to it harder and protect it as if it was the U.S. congress upholding the U.S. constitution. After all, we wouldn't want someone in office who either doesn't know all the rules or thinks they are privileged enough to be exempt from them.
New officers, new Student Congress members, you've made your promises. We'll be waiting.
Copyright © 1997 The Lariat
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