Students may not have a choice in who will be running the Student Government Association—since all of the candidates are running unopposed—but they will have a choice in what rules they abide by.
The ballot on March 7-8 will have two main issues for students to vote on; the tobacco policy, which will ban tobacco products on campus, and a revised version of the constitution.
Let me guess, this is the first time you’ve heard of SGA wanting to change their constitution. Well, it could be because they did it behind closed doors without any real input from the students. For an organization that claims to be the voice of the students, SGA has lousy ears.
Not only did SGA not seek student input through the use of forums, they also didn’t present it properly to their senate. The revised version that is on the front page of the website wasn’t finished until March 2, yet some how senate approved these changes. Since the discussion apparently took place during closed session, there is no way to tell that what the senate approved is actually what the students will be voting on. Since the revised constitution was not released immediately after the February 28 meeting due to further changes, it can be deduced that senate never saw the final version that will appear on the ballot.
While SGA senators and executive board members can attempt to justify that a closed session was necessary for these revisions, these justifications are frivolous. Missouri Sunshine law states that government meetings must be held in open session, unless the members are discussing specific personnel issues regarding a specific individual. The Missouri Sunshine law was established to prevent governments from making decisions without the public knowing and promote transparency.
Part of this makes sense, seeing how the constitution now includes the $50,000 allocation for the Administrative Coordinator of SGA position. If you’re wondering why no one cared ask you if it was okay to use your student fee money to pay for this position, it’s because no one cared. SGA didn’t ask because they don’t care if over $100,000 their budget, which you pay for, gets shifted around without your approval. They would rather shut the students out of their meetings.
So what’s the next step? Fortunately you, the student, can vote whether or not you want this rushed and revised constitution being the document that your student government abides by. Since you probably won’t have time to read the 16-page document or weigh the changes in your mind, vote for other reasons. The fact that they disregarded your voice, when the association prides themselves in being the voice of the student body, is enough of a reason to just vote no.
Vote no on the revised constitution and remind SGA who they are working for.