Editorial: Students must be active to make their voices heard

The Maroon

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Students recently rebuffed certain parts of the controversial constitution proposed by the SGA, including the severe cutting of senator seats from the SGA. We at The Maroon were against these changes and applaud the Loyola student body for preventing their voice from being weakened. But student involvement must not end there. If students wish to maintain a SGA that responds to their will and involves them in the decision-making process, they must be willing to stay active and involved with the government.

The creation of the new constitution happened under shaky circumstances – it largely happened behind closed doors with the repeated invocation of an executive session, and the new constitution had the potential to concentrate much of the SGA’s power in the hands of its executive board. If students hope to prevent such a closed process from initiating major decisions, they must remain involved.

Student involvement served as SGA’s justification for many of the changes proposed by the new constitution. The many suggested changes to the way the SGA was structured were all ostensibly aimed at making the SGA more efficient, streamlining it so that involved students would have a stronger voice and SGA would be more effective overall. Though the process was poorly executed, the objective was noble — to make those students who wanted to be involved and paid attention to campus, affairs more effective at addressing their concerns.

But the solution is not to disenfranchise those who refuse to get involved – rather, it is to find ways to motivate broader campus involvement. SGA should act as a voice for students on campus to make their needs and interests heard and to address their concerns, but that requires students to take action and to pay attention. SGA can only respond effectively to student needs if students make those needs known.

The beautiful thing about the democratic process is that it allows an enormous community of individuals to make collective decisions to improve their community. SGA allows this democratic process to happen on Loyola’s campus, but the full potential of SGA cannot be realized without students being active. The democratic process thrives upon the involvement of those who it affects.

So pay attention. Attend meetings. When SGA elections next roll around, pay attention to what the candidates are saying, what they don’t say and what they refuse to say. When you want to see something changed, speak up and be proactive. When you disapprove of something happening around campus, say as much. The only way the SGA will be responsive to your needs is if you let them know what those needs are and then take action to get your needs realized.

And while you’re at it, why not read The Maroon to stay as informed as possible?