Editorial: Burn the ballots… again

The Student Government Association is attempting to hold unconstitutional elections for the second time in four years. Unless students force the SGA to change, we will have one of our rights taken from us.

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Editorial: Burn the ballots… again

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The upcoming Student Government Association elections are illegitimate. The SGA is not allowing students to run for positions which are constitutionally guaranteed to them. In the world outside of Loyola, this is called fraud and people go to jail for it. Here, it’s called the norm and student fees pay for the people most responsible for it.

The SGA’s Constitution guarantees that there are elections for a position called the College President. The College President is a member of the senate which is supposed to represent the best interests of their individual college in addition to the students.

The SGA passed an amendment getting rid of this position, but before this amendment is anything more than a proposal, it has to be approved by the student body during a campus-wide referendum. The reasoning behind this is that the students should get a say because it directly impacts them. This we call democracy. The SGA skipped this step and decided for us that we don’t need to have a say if we want less representation in the Senate.

They justify this by saying the College President seats aren’t being utilized, so the bloat in Senate should be trimmed down. This is the opposite reaction that they should have. What they should be doing is charging forward and finding competent people to fill these positions; instead, they’re retreating and giving up on the position entirely.

If they want to get rid of these seats in a transparent and legitimate way, they should still advertise this position and hold elections for it. If the amendment getting rid of the College President passes, no one would be inducted into those positions. On the other hand, if they just ignore this position and the amendment fails, no one will have the energy to hold another round of informational sessions and elections, so there probably won’t be one held — as has happened before.

Last semester, the SGA neglected to hold elections for freshmen senators because they wanted to start an educational program for them. As we reported and editorialized then, they broke procedure for that as well. They said they would hold elections for freshmen in the spring, but we’re now halfway through the semester, no elections have been held and they have no plans to hold any. Freshmen have been effectively robbed of representation for three-fourths of the year, so there’s no reason to think that the SGA would hold elections correctly for the other positions they’re taking from us.

Seniors might recall that when they were freshmen, the SGA was caught not holding elections for positions that the student body hadn’t given them permission to get rid of. In the spring of 2013, The Maroon ran a front page editorial saying the same thing that we’re saying again now.

The amendments being proposed in 2013 were defeated by the student body. The SGA didn’t hold elections for the positions they failed getting rid of then, either. Electoral fraud seems to be one of our most prevalent traditions.

We’ve also learned from a former member of SGA’s executive staff that they considered doing this last year. Thankfully, they restrained themselves from doing so. Still, following due process and allowing students to vote for positions that they are entitled to shouldn’t have been up for debate.

The Maroon can afford to report this every few years: it makes for exciting news and it’s a great resume builder. But can the student body afford to be repeatedly and routinely disenfranchised? We think the answer is no.

Members of the SGA have said that they don’t understand why the Senate isn’t as robust as it used to be. There are many reasons to this, but it probably isn’t a coincidence that the branch which the SGA tries to decimate every few years is the one that they’ve seen the numbers decreasing in.

Also at issue is the lack of student voices in this discussion. The issue of representation is an important one, and decreasing that representation makes it so much more urgent and necessary that the student body has a dialogue about it.

The amendment to eliminate four seats from the Senate — we currently have nine senators — was voted on in the Senate at their Feb. 17 meeting: over three weeks ago as of this printing. In this time, the student body hasn’t heard a word from them about it. Students should have the time to seriously consider this amendment. Dropping it on us right before elections doesn’t give us the time to do that.

Failing to engage the general population of Loyola on this sends the message that the Student Government Association has nothing to do with the student body. If attempting to lessen our representation in the Senate doesn’t say that voters don’t matter to the SGA, then not even giving us the chance to vote before making major changes definitely does.

The SGA needs to open the applications for College President. Only then do they have any legitimate claim to call themselves our student government.

The editorial represents the majority opinions of The Maroon’s editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Loyola University. 

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