Editors Note: We endeavor to spark meaningful conversation in the Otterbein community. The staff of Otterbein360 do not always agree on each editorial stance, but the staff does agree that the best way to promote that dialogue is to entertain multiple points of view; as such, you will now see multiple stances produced by the staff on editorial issues and you can always expect the staff to stand behind their bylines.
See the companion blog here: BLOG: Increased student involvement and decreased administrative involvement will make Student Government better
At the first Student Government meeting the agenda was kept light; composed of introductions, and a brief review of parking on campus and a possible food poisoning crisis in the OtterDen. The second meeting was likewise limited.
Dear Student Senators, we elected you to talk about more than parking and eggs. At this critical time in the history of the Student Government, you have the ability to establish the student voice as the dominant voice on campus. By making student issues university issues, you can truly put the needs of students front and center.
During Thursday's meeting, you did discuss the inclusion of a partial alcohol amnesty policy, specifically designed to protect victims of sexual assault. This is a considerable stride forward, but doesn’t change the fact that you couldn’t include a full amnesty policy, or that the focus of the meeting was a tutorial on how to use Microsoft Office 365, led by President Kathy Krendl’s executive assistant, Sarah Hickey.
You are new, and we realize this, no one can jump straight into the fray without at least making sure their nametag is on straight. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to manage, and we understand that you are charged with no easy task. However, you chose to preside over a student body with diverse interests and often complicated problems, and you have addressed only part of one of them.
The campus administration has ignored the spirit of self-governance by imposing new policies on student organizations since your election which were not open to discussion with the student body or its newly elected representatives.
There is no reason that altered Greek new member education guidelines, or the lack of a full, written alcohol amnesty policy concurrent with what is taught by Otterbein Police Chief Larry Banaszak have not been addressed.
We believe they deserve to be, and you are a key forum of that discussion.
Students cannot voice their concerns without a channel to do so. No one can walk into the Student Affairs office, demand a meeting, and expect a reasonable response to their call to change. We are dependent on you, our elected representatives, to be the students’ voice because you do have that power. You can work through channels established by the university to enact change on behalf of your constituents; and as elected officials you have an obligation to do so.
We are not being quiet, so why are you?
Allowing the university to lay down these decisions without our government taking the opportunity to comment sets a poor precedent for future policies. And, as we said, while you are new, is this really the way to start when you consider the possible impact on future governments?
Students, if you have concerns the only way that your senators are going to know about them is if you personally take action to tell them. The new Student Government has a section of every meeting set aside to hear from anyone who wants the chance to speak.
We will be there, every month, at 6:30pm in the Roush Hall boardroom, will you?