The Maroon

Editorial: SGA consistently under performs

Gage Counts, [email protected]

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1The primary function of a student government is to act as a bullhorn for the student body and amplify their voice so people who have the power to change things, do. This doesn’t happen with Loyola’s Student Government Association.

As our professors were expressing their dissatisfaction over the performance of the Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J. as university president, there was no engagement with the student body from the SGA on the issue. There were no town halls organized where students could get together and discuss what they wanted to see from Wildes, there were no emails sent out to students explaining what was happening and there wasn’t even a representative from the SGA present at the meeting where the vote of “no confidence” was passed.

When there was a massive amount of energy working with the black student movement after the protests at the University of Missouri, and Loyola’s Black Student Union issued a petition expressing their concerns about racism at Loyola, they went straight to Wildes to have their concerns addressed. They entirely bypassed their student government, and that was probably intentional. If they had handed the issue over to the SGA, it would have died in the Audubon Room.

During the height of the financial equilibrium process — where entire majors were slated for termination — the SGA did not effectively communicate with the student body about what was going on. The SGA was involved in the entire process, yet they did not engage the student body to see what they wanted to be done. It wasn’t until the very end of the process that a town hall was organized to allow students to express their concerns about the budget cuts and restructuring. That engagement could have been seen sooner where it would have been more effective.

Last spring, when there was a string of sexual assaults on Loyola students, the SGA didn’t take action to combat the problem. There was a sexual assault panel that was organized, but by the Students Against Sexual Assault, the Intrafraternity Council and the New Orleans Family Justice Center; not the SGA. Taking action to demand change on this was within their prerogative.

The SGA sits in on Board of Trustees meetings. This is a privilege that should be taken complete advantage of. The students have a direct line to the people who govern the university, and they don’t know they have this power or whether it’s being used by the SGA effectively.

In the eyes of the student body, most of what their student government does is program fun events and provide food on occasion. There is nothing wrong with free Raising Canes during the closing weeks of the semester. Still, this doesn’t get to the heart of the purpose of student government, yet that takes up most of its time and energy.

In the coming weeks, campaigning for SGA President, Vice President and other important positions will begin. Whoever runs for these positions will undoubtedly have good intentions, but good intentions and an ability to talk to people are not enough to make the SGA relevant to the university. The student body needs to hold the SGA accountable and to push them to be their voice. This election should not just be an election — it should be a referendum on the under performance of our student government.

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About the Writer
Gage Counts, Managing Editor for Electronic Properties

R. Gage is an economics junior and the Managing Editor for Electronic Properties. He was previously a guest columnist and the Opinion and Editorial Editor....

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Editorial: SGA consistently under performs”

  1. Jon Alexander on March 3rd, 2016 12:23 am

    It appears, based on the above note, nothing has changed. Perhaps the author of this editorial is out of the loop and does not realize that the SGA is a puppet group, overseen and controlled by a few “adults,” who work for the University. As for the allegations of racism on campus, LAUGHABLE. Loyola is among the leading providers of financial aid to all walks of life, regardless of race (and the other standard categories). As a former student and student of color, hearing the mere notion that Loyola favors, disfavors, or otherwise prejudices utilities, classes, or any other good or service available to all students, equally, turns my stomach. Loyola is an institution centered on SOCIAL JUSTICE issues. My advice to those who feel they have been unfairly treated need not go far to see the amazing work being done in the community by current and past faculty and alumni. Be grateful for YOUR institution’s excellence in treating everyone with dignity and respect, EVERYONE.

  2. Gage Counts on April 17th, 2016 8:42 pm

    Jon,

    The SGA is supposed to represent student interests, as they are the representative body for the students. Whether their concerns about racism were valid – and finding that out was beyond the purpose of this editorial – shouldn’t factor in to whether their governmental body helped them with that.

    As the author of this editorial, I can assure you that I am not out of the loop on where the power in the SGA lies.

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Editorial: SGA consistently under performs