Letter to the editor
Student Senate has no partisan code
November 18, 2011
After reading Mr. Leonard’s letter in the Nov. 4 issue of the Student Voice, I feel it is necessary to set the record straight regarding service on the Student Senate. If one reviewed the Senate Bylaws – the document which, among other things, governs the behavior of Student Senators – one would find no reference to any limit on a person’s right to express their own opinion. To be perfectly clear, there has never been a ‘code’ that limits a Senator’s political affiliation, political opinion, or rights of expression. Mr. Halverson, as well as any other member of the Senate, are allowed to state their opinion in the manner of their choosing. Prohibiting this expression would be a gross violation of the member’s First Amendment rights.
In an idyllic world, political issues would never intermix into student politics. However, given the impact that decisions made in Madison have on all students in our current era, the entry of partisan politics into student government is nearly inescapable. To dismiss the actions of a member of the Senate as being purely partisan surely disregards the core of the issues and the impact they have on all students. It is possible for a person’s partisan interests and their desire to better the entire student body to coincide. To put it more clearly, Mr. Halverson does not act as a Democrat; he acts as a student representative to the student body, and advocates for those things that, in his personal ideology, offer the most benefit to all students.
Finally, I encourage Mr. Leonard, if he feels this issue is as dire as his letter seems to indicate, to pursue proper action through the Senate’s ethics process, rather than waste everyone’s time and the Voice’s column inches, with unsubstantiated claims that have no merit.