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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