Serious elections require stable leaders

Direct election of the Student Government Association (SGA) president is on the horizon, but, as with most things SGA-related, it is not without deliberation.

Earlier this semester, SGA Vice President for Administration and Public Relations Adriana Campos wrote a commentary about the SGA’s interest in giving students the ability to directly vote for the student body president, instead of giving student senators that task (“SGA looks toward 2007 for direct elections,” Jan. 11). As the SGA gets serious about the change, this should be taken seriously: student leadership.

If the SGA wants students to take interest in student government and vote, the candidates have to be responsible and mature. If the organization’s reputation is marred by conflict, how can students be expected to take the elections seriously?

The president and vice presidents should act responsibly to garner student support and to uphold SGA’s mission.

Students serving as SGA senators and presidents in the last few years have been involved in a plethora of scandals – each stemming from irresponsibility.

The Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) found then-SGA President Andres Vargas responsible for hosting a party where underage people were served alcohol in fall 2004.

In spring 2005, a petty debate ensued between incumbent President Bill Durkin and eventual winner Michael Benson.

In summer 2005, OSCCR found then-SGA President Michael Benson and then-Executive Vice President Chad Cooper responsible for viewing undisclosed OSCCR files.

Recently, the SGA executive board more closely resembles an extreme game of musical chairs, instead of a representative body.

Leaders of the student body should act as role models, not Northeastern Crime Log all-stars if they want other students to respect them as leaders. The Student Government Association, with direct elections, will be forced answer to constituents – the students. SGA must prove, must earn and must retain respect.

Direct elections are not a joke. They are an on-campus extension of democracy. In order to inspire students to vote and be active citizens of the campus then SGA has to exemplify what they claim to be: the students’ government.

A government that is petty or scandalous is not effective.

There is not an interest to see direct elections, there is a demand. Direct elections are 30-plus years in the making. It’s about time.

In a large, bureaucratic university students must be represented by leaders – not by an organization that is wrought with scandal and internal disputes.

The students deserve a transparent student government that fights for the students – not amongst themselves. That is the only way direct elections will fulfill their promise.

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