Trending resignations mar SGA’s professionalism

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • January 26, 2012

At issue: 

Two more members of Emerson’s student government resign.

Our take: 

Everybody multitasks. 

_______________________

In the pages of last week’s Beacon, this editorial board called for a firmer demonstration of commitment and accountability among our Student Government Association representatives. It was to our disappointment that a student leader who pledged “consistency” of service abandoned her post—joining the handful of her predecessors and colleagues from the class of 2013 who had similarly jumped ship. 

This, we recognized, was a trend. Therefore, it is with dismay, but not disbelief, that we watch two more SGA representatives quit their jobs midstream. 

Members of student government hedged the issue by claiming that elected and appointed SGA officials are students first, and must necessarily put their extracurriculars second. However, any Emerson student who has devoted time and energy to an extracurricular activity knows that the best, brightest, and most capable among us—those who are most suited to represent the student body—manage to hold down a multitude of jobs, without demanding an easy out. 

Consistency of leadership is what makes Emerson’s publications, radio stations, volunteer organizations, and clubs exceptional. At our school, students work their way up from the lowliest assistant positions to propel those extracurricular organizations to even greater progress. What’s more, many do it while maintaining killer GPAs. 

Engaging in the Emerson community and rising to the occasion of academia are not mutually exclusive propositions. It’s unfortunate that the high level of dedication witnessed all over campus, across majors, and in the most thankless of circumstances, cannot be matched by our student government. 

This week, President Tau Zaman acknowledged the need to further vet candidates, ensuring they understand what, exactly, they are committing to when they put their name on the ballot or accept appointments. 

Each new resignation clarifies the notion that quitting, as an option, is an institutionalized tenet of Emerson’s student government. However well-intentioned any SGA aspirant may be, those who throw their hands in the air at the challenge of time management shouldn’t ask the student body to elect them, or accept an appointment they are incapable of honoring. We've seen too many departures of both kinds. 

“I understand the need to have consistency,” SGA Secretary Christina Muniz said to a Beacon reporter this week, “but if there is no one to fill positions, I would rather have people be there half the semester than no one at all.”

At Emerson, we strive to lead effectively, not to be preferable to “no one at all.” 

Clarification: An earlier version of this editorial included a line which implied the two resigning SGA officials had been elected to their positions. Both accepted the responsibility of serving the student body during the 2011-2012 school year by appointment, not by election.