Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Editorial: SGA must first stand for the students

ERIC BURAS/Staff Photographer
Jasmine Barnes, Student Government Association president and mass communication senior, and SGA executive board members have a discussion at their training session on Aug. 17. SGA should be advocating for students, first and foremost.

According to the 2013 constitution, the purpose of our Student Government Association is “to act as the principle representative voice of the student body to the university.”

SGA is a powerful organization. The Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., stated in an interview on Sept. 24, 2013, that he relies on SGA as a voice for the students.

However, it is now Oct. 4, and the newly-elected freshmen senators were not sworn in until Sept. 24. If SGA has not had an official legislative body, how can they be standing up for the student body?

The strengthening relationship between SGA, the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Co-Curricular Programming is hard to ignore. SGA chose to ignore the voice of the students by superceding the 2013 election referendum and taking the University Programming Board.

Programming continues to be a priority of SGA and does not align with the purposes stated in the constitution.

There is nothing wrong with having an adviser from Co-Curricular. Advising can be a useful resource for advice and an outside perspective. However, SGA should not be waiting for approval from Student Affairs and Co-Curricular.

SGA must be of, by and for the students, and therefore first accountable to the student body, especially when the students’ interests conflict with administration and academic departments.

Loyola administration should be just as open to hearing student opinions as SGA is open to communicating them.

A strong relationship between students and their student government has proved to be immensely useful in the past. When student government follows their purpose, big and significant change can take place.

For example, Loyola’s SGA got the Loyola Recreational Sports Complex built.

Austin Peay State University’s student government was able to establish a trolley system as transport around campus, as well as making the campus smoke-free.

Doane University’s student government was able to establish a coffee house on campus.

At Occidental College, student government worked with campus administration and the school newspaper to get more lights on a main road after a string of muggings occurred in an unlit section.

SGA should be an autonomous entity that stands up for students’ rights. Advocacy for the students should be SGA’s first priority, not programming.

At the SGA meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 25, out of the senators that were present, only one knew they were a member of a committee. The other members were prompted by the adviser to read an email about their committee appointments.

We are asking SGA to first and foremost follow its purpose and mission. Advocate for us – all of us.

Second, we are asking SGA to remember that it is the sole voice of the student body when communicating with Loyola administration. When Jasmine Barnes walks into the Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 18, she is the sole voice of the student body. We need to be able to rely on her to represent us.

Third, we are asking the members of SGA to learn their roles. SGA must be an autonomous entity, without advisers handholding members.

The Maroon is the eyes and ears of the students, and SGA is the mouth. We need to work together for and with the student body.

The Maroon will be a driving force alongside our SGA if you push for positive changes on campus that are in line with your purpose.

The students are waiting for you to take the lead as their government.  

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