What should student government be doing?
What's the use of a student government?
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 23:09
Who will march on Austin to prevent legislators from raising interest on student aid? Who stands up to a corrupt university president embezzling student fees into a lavish Starbucks budget? Who will protest when student’s First Amendment rights are denied on campus? It’s not a bird, a plane or an egg salad sandwich. It’s student government.
While most of us students walk around in an ambivalent haze of hangovers and exams, we elect student representatives to stick up for our interests. The problem is that many people don’t know what student government does for them, or that one exists for that matter.
When some higher government body tries to pass legislation that cuts financial aid, it’s the student representative’s job to make signs and say no. If a student’s civil liberties are violated by the police department, student government should be making a fuss about it. If the university wants to make the homecoming theme “Care Bears,” student representatives can tell them that it is entirely irrelevant and that “Hunger Games” would make a better theme.
“All Paws in” is a project that Sam Houston State University’s Student Government Association organizes. Last year, it brought in over 3,400 hours of community service – by far the largest effort on campus.
Student apathy toward student government is concerning for a variety of reasons. One is that it’s hard to represent a population who doesn’t communicate their needs. I am sure every student reading this has grumbled to a friend about a university policy they don’t like and I am equally sure less than one percent of you have talked to your SGA representative about it.
A second, yet equally large, problem is that you probably don’t vote in student elections. This means that someone is chosen for you as opposed to you choosing who represents you. If you don’t vote, there is no incentive for student government to do anything in your interest.
The SHSU constitution begins with “We the students of Sam Houston State University, in order to assume the rights and responsibilities of self-government, promote the welfare of the student body, guide student activities, promote academic excellence, develop the spirit of democracy and promote loyalty to the ideals of the University, do hereby adopt and establish this constitution.”
That is what SGA is supposed to do. Whether you believe they are upholding this, I leave to you. In any case, participation in the process is vital.