Tonight was the annual press night for Emerson’s Student Government Association and the turnout left something to be desired. The only people in attendance for the entire event, besides the candidates themselves, were advisor Sharon Duffy and Berkeley Beacon correspondents. A few of the candidates didn’t even make it. To be fair, some of them were studying abroad at Kasteel Well—but only some.
As candidates began giving their speeches, it became apparent that every single candidate was running unopposed, and almost all of them were already SGA members.
This is concerning. SGA is an integral part of our community. Its responsibility is to act as liaison between students, faculty, and administration, and make sure that our concerns as students are heard. The lack of opposition here leaves us with few opportunities for new ideas for our student electorate.
This isn’t solely SGA’s fault. Our student body should want to have options. We should want to be involved in the decisions our student leaders make. Last spring, the Beacon’s editorial board pointed out that much of the student organization appeals budget—over $60,000—had been left untouched.
That’s not to say being a member of SGA is easy. It’s a massive commitment, with mandatory weekly meetings and hours dedicated to communicating with faculty and students. It may not be a task that many Emerson students want to take on.
But what about the students who want to commit and don’t know how to begin that process? There was one post on the SGA’s Facebook page—their main form of communication—in February encouraging students to start campaigns. Since then, they’ve posted one sponsored post to advertise Wednesday night’s press night. It is standing SGA representatives that need to make students aware that these positions are open to them.
There are so many problems between our student body and our administration that this council has not pushed hard enough on. Our student organizations shouldn’t have to deal with the bureaucracy involved with keeping themselves up and running. Our students who face injustice every day deserve to feel safe at this college—just because a select few are fighting so hard on this issue doesn’t mean the whole student government is. Our students deserve transparency from the administration.
The deadline to get on the ballot was March 3, but there is no official process for write-in campaigns—you just have to get enough people to fill in your name come election day.
It’s up to you, as members of this community, to step into these roles. Introducing fresh perspectives and differing experiences could help shed light on these concerns—and ones we haven’t even addressed. Those late-night conversations with roommates, arguments with classmates, and discussions with administrators you’ve had about campus issues you’re passionate about? Those are the basis of your campaign platform.
If this sounds like you, then it’s time to announce your write-in campaign.