By Elise Svoboda
Some of my friends think the Student Government Association (SGA) is a joke. For others like me, SGA is an organization for students by students. Students can get involved and see how our government works on a small scale.
I have been involved in two campaign teams while I have been at Eastern. When I was a freshman, I campaigned with Armburst and Holcomb. Last year, I campaigned for Mollozzi and White. I say this not to brag about how I have been involved with SGA elections, but I say this for those who were here to remember some issues of the past with election committees of old.
For starters, the Armbrust/Holcomb campaign had to go to a hearing the eve of elections due to a violation against the Chadwell/Anderson campaign. In the end, the results were that Chadwell and Anderson could not campaign until noon and they had some of their votes docked. Last year is where this piece really starts with the Mollozzi/White campaign. The day of elections, not the eve of the day of, there was a serious poster violation turned in against them to the point where things got out of hand in more ways than one.
People were not allowed to hear the joke of a court case due to the size of the room, which could have happened to anyone. No matter what, Mollozzi or White said it was a no-win situation. I was there and I felt so outraged by the whole circus because people cannot act as they would in a real courtroom setting. While I was not at the Street/Arbino trial and the trial itself was not as big as last year’s, I knew what they were going through without even being there. While I, myself, was just watching it last year, I felt fear, dread and panic due to the fact the case was so big on campus.
The catch is how long a court decision can have a final say in the vote. I think that this year’s administration did a wonderful job with student government, but each year the elections committee has caused the election results to change, not by interfering with the vote, but by overturning decisions made by the student body.
I know that SGA has certain bylaws within their constitution they need to follow, but I also know students are wondering who truly won the elections. I know the election process is done by computers, but people are responsible to insure that the elections are done properly.
I have nothing against Street and Arbino winning the elections, and I wish them and their cabinet the best of luck for the 2012-2013 school year. I do, however, have an issue with the way and means the election committee handles situations involving serious election violations. There should be a certain window to close serious violations and a true list of what is a serious violation. There should also be a certain way to handle these situations to the point of having an appeal trial once it is turned in and not causing such a commotion within the school and the elections.
The U.S. was founded on the people choosing who comes to power. Whether it is local, state, or national government, people “rock the vote.” While there have been times within our history where the courts have had to come to a decision about who won the election, there has not been a time in U.S. history that I have read about how this is a yearly issue and it affecting the outcome of the elections.
There should also be a certain number of candidates allowed on the ballet. This year, the vote was so spilt that it looked like a miracle for people to have 300 votes to consider them eligible for being the next student body president and executive vice president.
There is a better way to conduct elections, but all I can give is suggestions. I have not seen the SGA constitution, but I heard some things about it. I challenge the new SGA for 2012-2013 school year to attempt to figure out a way to make the system better. I understand it will not happen overnight and there is truly no good way to go about it, but a single sign of change would be a great start to ensure the students’ voice is actually heard again; not the voice and decision of a committee.