As a senior and a former member of student government, the recent SA presidential platforms and elections bothered me a great deal. Is anyone else fed up with the bull of our student leadership? Lets go one step further. Is anyone else out there fed up with the bull of our administrative leadership?

Well, most of you have just answered these two questions by saying: Does anyone care? The sad fact is that poor student leadership, poor administrative leadership and student apathy have formed the vicious cycle that we refer to as student activities.

The presidential elections and platforms are once again littered with promises of gold ? better communication, better coordination, better activities, blah, blah, blah. I have heard this before, and many of you will hear it again because nobody in our student leadership is willing to change the status quo, or the basic structural flaw in our established system of government.

It is interesting to me that few students are aware that $175 of their tuition is allotted to the student activity fee and that the students on the Students? Association Appropriation Committee, who aren?t elected, spend that fee ? which adds up to more than $600,000 a year. Admittedly, the students who do spend this money take their responsibility seriously, but the problem is not with them. The problem is with the way that students have any say over the allocation of the money. They basically don?t ? our student government is a red tape, pass-the-buck system of committee meetings.

The SA Senate includes most of our elected students. As the legislative body, the SA Senate feels like it is its responsibility to legislate student affairs, but what does that mean? Basically, the SA Senate doesn?t accomplish many recognizable results because it has been deprived of the most basic responsibility of a legislative body, which is to budget the money of its taxpayers ? the students. In effect, it has crippled its relationship with student activities because of this constitutional flaw and because of its inability to take the initiative and get things done.

The SA Senate is eager and willing to acknowledge that there is something wrong. It, like the rest of us, can witness first hand the general apathy and lack of school pride that invades this campus. But that is just the beginning and also, unfortunately, the end. There is no unified structure of student government. Each division of power (senate, president, SAAC) conflicts with itself and the others for several reasons ? purpose, authority and activity regulation.

A private committee of elected senators was formed over an year ago to check student government. When we brought our recommendations that serious ratification of policy was needed, it was immediately frowned upon. I learned that the majority of the elected students main concern seemed to harbor in the selfishness of the mediocre present and fear of change, rather than trying something that might benefit our college experience.

When the students have taken the initiative, however, with anything that requires the cooperation of the university, we are not taken seriously. The idea of the pub on campus was unsuccessful because no administrator was willing to stand up for the students; our issue was not die-heartedly endorsed by anyone. Money for the pub actually wasn?t an issue. It came down to getting the signature on the right line, and the pub didn?t get signed because it was given a lower priority. The administrators claim to be so concerned, but didn?t care enough to stick their necks out for us.

In addition to the lack of administrative leadership and poorly structured student government, there is a lethargic student body. But is it to blame for being this way? In order to break this skid of depression, the student body must voice itself in union, take some chances, and follow up with intensity and legitimate solutions.

There are four ingredients to this recipe for an exciting and blissful college life. We have the three ingredients in the students, our government, and our administration ? but they need a lot of sifting. The fourth we have had all wrong for some time now ? confusion. All that needs to replace it is cohesiveness, then find a blender of proper technique, add a dash of motivation, and perhaps we can eat up so much school pride and excitement that we will get sick.

Sticking your neck out for your people is the most important aspect to good leadership. Our leadership at UR, while claiming to support us, is selfish. It will never convince me otherwise until it risks its own well being, and administrative status for us. I don?t think that is too much to ask.

Tasker is a senior and former SA senator.



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