SGA resignations reveal indifference to public service

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • January 19, 2012

At issue: Yet another premature departure from SGA

Our take: SGA is not a hobby; serve your whole term.  

On a daily basis, Emerson students strive to juggle it all, and inevitably fall short on occasion. Yet through careful prioritization, lots of coffee, and support from our similarly-taxed peers, Emerson students manage to live up to the high standards we have created for ourselves.

But while most Emerson students spend their time working on a literary magazine, marketing campaign, or an improv troupe — where they are accountable to their fellow group members—Student Government Association officials are responsible for more than just themselves and their club: they are elected to represent the student body.

Students who run for office make a commitment to their peers that they will serve a full term as SGA representatives.  Shanae Burch illustrated this idea when she spearheaded her campaign last spring as a class of 2013 presidential candidate, saying she hoped to provide consistent leadership for a class that had seen presidents come and go.  

Her constituents elected her to be different. Fifty-eight students may be a small portion of the class of 2013, but those 58 voters were enough to charge Burch with their trust and loyalty to represent them effectively for two semesters. 

However, her word fell short. She resigned after serving a mere semester. Just like the others, Burch came and went. It’s time for SGA to take action to ensure this non-commitment trend doesn’t continue. 

Elections are held annually because our elected officials are vested with a year of service to the student body. That does not mean “one semester” or “as convenient.” Unfortunately, those alternative interpretations of a “year-long term” have proven far too popular among SGA ranks. 

This is not to say that the majority of SGA representatives don’t honor their commitments. In fact, departures like these risk disrupting progress the entire governing body strives toward as a collective whole. It is crucial that the most dedicated SGA members be able to depend on their colleagues to work as diligently as possible, and to share the responsibility of governance. 

Representatives who feel compelled to shirk their responsibility should look no further than to the example of senior SGA members whose records of commitment speak for themselves. 

When students run for SGA positions, we suggest that they be questioned more stringently about their other commitments. Members of student government should be vetted to prove they would hold their SGA duties above all other extracurriculars. After all, they are elected to office by peers who trust them to do their job and to do it well. Or, at the very least, complete a term.

 

They, more than any other student, should have a handle on time management. If they can’t commit to public service, then they shouldn’t ask to be public servants.