As a senior who is more than ready to graduate, I’ve seen four years of SGA administrations. To be blunt, I’ve been more than disappointed.
Indeed, I’ve come to the harsh conclusion that SGA hurts student life on campus. And I’m not the first to be critical of SGA.
The current SGA administration, headed by President Zubke and Vice President Booth, has come to represent typical SGA leadership. To put it mildly, their term has been, at best, a disappointment and at worst, a failure.
First, they ran on making transcripts free for students. Not only have they failed to do so, they haven’t even tried. Under their administration, no legislation has been introduced that addresses transcripts in any way.
Once again, we have an SGA executive team that makes promises but forgets them as soon as they enter office.
Second, their campaign was centered around “Impact. Cultivate. Empower.” What has their impact been? Charlie’s Cupboard?
Unfortunately, the student body has spoken out against this idea. It competes with already established programs in the community. But when these concerns are raised, students are treated to the same response: something to the tune of “I understand your concerns and we’re having ongoing conversations.” In short, student concerns are basically ignored.
As for “cultivate,” just about the only thing that has been cultivated is negativity. Last year, students came forward and said SGA cares more about themselves than the students. Zubke thought the students had great insight.
But has anything changed? The answer is a resounding no.
Several weeks ago, several students anonymously submitted complaints about SGA. They said senators are more concerned with undercutting each other in power plays rather than representing their constituents. Others have called the environment toxic.
In short, the environment at SGA hasn’t improved. Given that students feel they have to anonymously contact SGA, I would say it’s only gotten worse.
Now consider the last point: empower. Who has been empowered by SGA? It certainly hasn’t been student organizations. As the president of USD’s Math Club, I can attest to the absolute headache that dealing with SGA can be.
The budget process is such a burden on student organizations, so much so that Math Club decided not to receive funding from SGA. Under the current rules, if a student organization misses any of the budget meetings, for whatever reason, they can’t receive funds through the budgeting process.
Instead, they can only receive funding through special appropriations. For student organizations, that means going up to six months without funding because of a simple mistake to miss a meeting. But it’s only gotten worse.
Back in January, SGA passed a bill (Senate Bill #82) adding more requirements to student organizations. Not only do organizations still have to attend an SGA meeting, but now student leaders must attend Campus Leader Mixers.
Some may claim this is meant to create a sense of community between student leaders and SGA. But it only creates more red tape for organizations. Once again, SGA has become a greater burden on students.
If SGA wants to improve student outreach, then perhaps they should reach out to student organizations instead of holding their funding hostage unless they meet SGA’s demands.
I’m glad we have a chance to change the status quo. Students should elect a team that is not running for their own resumes but for the students. Students should elect a team that will fix the budgeting process, that will fix the horrible atmosphere at SGA and that will actually fulfill the promises they make.