The Responsibility of the SGA

Anthony Harris
Opinions Editor
anthonydeanharris@gmail.com

Two weeks ago, I published an article essentially belittling the power of the Student Government Association. I stand by what I was saying, but I hope not to oversimplify the message I was trying to convey. I do believe that the SGA is an integral part of Morehouse College, but we should not weigh so much importance on them.

But I was also trying to say that I don’t want to give any additional involvement to any candidate. I want each person running for an office to receive the same advice from me that I would give anyone else. I, at the beginning and end of each day, am little more than a concerned student, as we all should be.

Therefore, let me take a moment to give some free advice to every candidate running for office. Last year, I noticed a few campaigns stealing ideas from my articles anyway. I’m not upset about that; it’s an indication that I’m doing my job well.

First and foremost, I’ve said for years that Morehouse College would work more efficiently if more services were provided by work study students. I hear the same complaints over and over again about not being able to trust students, but isn’t this more of a testament about us than it is about the system? Shouldn’t we do all we can to make sure hard working young men are given jobs which can certainly help them as they get through college?

The cafeteria can work later hours if more students were hired by Sodexho. Douglass could print for longer hours if a work study student were by the printer after five in the evening. Instead of outsourcing our grounds keeping, our flowerbeds and immaculate grass could be kempt by our own students at the low rate of six dollars an hour. I would figure certain bookkeepers in the office of business and finance would salivate at the low wage rates and increased services this could all bring.

Also, the SGA President and the two junior board of trustee members need to act more as advocates of the students. They should periodically report (whether through the SGA’s publication budget or merely through Facebook) on their votes and explain how they feel they have helped the student body. If these young members of the board vote for a tuition hike, at least explain the reasoning for voting for such a hike and how they feel it would benefit us as students.

The student handbook states in the constitution that every enrolled student is a member of the Student Government Association. As pretty as those words seem, this isn’t really the case. The SGA functions as a good government should, as a republic. In the next few days, 2,800 people are going to decide who will represent them. They will choose who will lead their class or their overall body. Just as each candidate has an immense responsibility, each student also has one. We must decide who is the person who stands up for us.

This is a responsibility we must bear in mind consistently. We must be fully cognizant that each voter must vote in favor of himself and of the school. Each candidate must represent each student and consider the campus’s welfare, not just pad a résumé or pay a phone bill with money from the budget. The jobs up for grabs in the next few days are jobs that garner a lot of attention because of their importance to all of us.

When we consider the responsibility of being a student, it seems a little more than one would want to withstand. Piling on representing other fellow students, asking for that job seems crazy. But there’s something a tad noble in wanting that responsibility; it’s even more noble when that responsibility is fulfilled.

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