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Letter to the editor

Regardless of outcome, students should hold Student Senate President accountable

May 5, 2010

If you walked around campus at all a couple weeks ago, there’s no doubt that you noticed plenty of sidewalk chalk in preparation for the upcoming Student Senate elections.

If you read the Voice last week, you probably saw the front page headline regarding the new Presidential election. But besides these things, when do you as a student ever hear about what Student Senate does for you?

The answer – hardly ever; except of course when there are elections or when Senate has done something wrong. Don’t take this to mean that I think the Student Voice should print articles praising the work of Senate, because in all honesty Student Senate hasn’t done much in the past few years to earn praise.

I as a senator have had to come to terms with this and place some of the blame on myself, but blame must also be placed on the entire Senate.

Student Senate has been woefully unfocused this past year, and has been more apt to conceal itself in its office in the Involvement Center and play Risk (the board game) than to actually work towards issues that matter to students.

And when the opportunity came for students to get a direct vote in the matter – the elections – the Senate managed to bungle that opportunity as well by a total lack of advertisement for the elections (the candidates were required to do all advertisement for the event) and by holding the elections weeks too late.

Then we had a situation where a candidate was very nearly kicked out of the election because of minor misunderstandings, badly written rules and personal vendettas. All this leads to one conclusion – changes need to be made.
So, whoever wins this new presidential election has a big job ahead of them – make the Senate accountable to the students again, make the students aware of what Senate has done and is doing, and actually make the Senate do what the students want it to do.

This means more than just chalking one week out of the year, or setting up Facebook groups, or coming up with catchy campaign slogans; it means doing actual work. The students need a Student Senate that works for them, which is something that has been lacking at UWRF.

I encourage you, as students, to hold the Student Senate and its president, whomever is elected, accountable, so that your Senate does the work you want it to do, and so that your voice within the university is as loud and clear as possible.