The challenges SGA Faces
By Gary Weidemann
March 5, 2012
It is a good thing for the students of MWSU that this year, the first since 2008, we had competition for the Office of President in Student Government Association. Both campaigns highlighted issues that concern students, and both candidates made their case for student representation. At the debate, both were respectful toward moderator and opponent and aware of their allotted response time, making them infinitely more polite than any of the national presidential candidates who have gone to the debate stage this year. I worked with Jacob as an RA, and Cody was a resident on my floor while I was an RA, so I know whoever is the next SGA President will be hard working, honest and do what he thinks is best.
A curious thing about this election was how the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses were complimentary. Scott has the experience, connections, and political know-how to get much done in the name of the students, but strong ties to the Administration may impede the ability to stand up to the MWSU Administration when necessary. Beyers is driven to make sure the student voice is represented and clearly has the fortitude to step out of his comfort zone and take a stand, but a lack of familiarity with the practices and policy of SGA could make it easy for the administration to steamroll the student voice. My hope is that each candidate recognizes his own weaknesses as well as the strengths of his opponent and that whoever is elected (results should be out by the time this article is printed) asks for his opponent’s assistance to effectively represent the students.
The foremost responsibility of SGA is to represent the voice of the student body on campus and to the MWSU Administration. While this requires keeping the students aware of what is going on in the Administration, the overall goal must be to communicate the needs and desires of the student body to the Administration. I want to congratulate all the new members of SGA; you have shown dedication and a desire to serve our community and have earned the responsibility and authority of your position. I also want to remind you of the situation you face. Earlier this semester the MWSU Administration came to SGA to ask it to consider imposing a student fee to help offset impending budget cuts. It did not come to ask what suggestions SGA and students had concerning where potential cuts should or should not be made. They want us to help fund the solution, but not help decide what the solution should be. This disregard for the student voice on critical issues is the central challenge you will face in representing the student body. You should work with the Administration, but should also keep in mind that it may not always put the interests of the students first. That will be your job.