Governmental credibility is heavily based on the willingness of all members to follow the rules by which they govern themselves. The Students’ Association Senate Election Committee, by breaking the rules of the SA Constitution and the senate bylaws, has completely invalidated the authority of the entire senate.

Regardless of whether the All-Campus Judicial Committee recognizes this or not, senate has shown a callous disregard for the SA Constitution. Through its latest decision not to hold the senate in contempt for ignoring the details of their previous decision, ACJC has assured senate that it is allowed to be above the law.

Senate has shown an unprecedented amount of disrespect in ignoring the decision of ACJC that demanded the senate election be carried out with all possible speed with the addition of five new candidates on the ballot. In doing so, it is flaunting its ability to push limits and ignore laws without remorse. This goes far past the perennial issues surrounding senate elections that have caused only two out of the last 20 elections to run smoothly.

The actions of this committee have thrust the credibility of the entire senate into the spotlight. While many senators are not directly responsible for these events, every senator can easily be viewed as a useless vestige of an outdated system that does not represent students. It is not a surprise that class councils have become so popular.

However, the senate can still become a body that does successfully represent the student body. All senators should be outraged at the actions of a few of their members that have reflected so poorly on the entire organization. They need to take appropriate steps to ensure that changes are made. Reforms are needed in the internal organization of senate to reclaim the viability and utility of its position.

The elections also need to be taken out of the hands of the senate and put into the hands of the SA office. Here arrangements for dates and publicity can be reliably planned out in advance and carried out. The senate has proven it can’t handle the responsibility.

Regardless, what damage that has been done to the reputation of Senate and ACJC has been done. Now, senate needs to make sure that these rescheduled elections are well publicized in all areas of campus.

The committee also needs to make an extra effort to ensure that freshmen are aware of how to vote using Telnet. With the widespread use of Web Mail and the lack of upperclass contact, many freshmen are completely uninformed about the use of Telnet. It would be a shame if this election were further scandalized by freshmen not knowing how to cast their vote.

Senators themselves will be casting votes on Monday for the Speaker of the SA Senate. Although the speaker election is an internal election and therefore not governed by the election committee, it is a poorly timed move to prevent the senators who will be elected to choose their speaker.

The make-up of the student body changes yearly, as should the senators. Since the speaker is the spokesperson for the representative body of the SA, the speaker should also reflect this change. This can most easily be accomplished by having the speaker elected by the most recently elected senators.

All of these actions ? from the original low levels of advertisement to the unfortunate timing of the senate speaker elections ? reflect the attitude that no signifigant portion of the student body is going to care what the SA government does. With voter turnout hovering around one-third of the student body, it is not a surprise that this has been a widely-held belief.

It is time for students to let SA government officials know that they are not ignoring these transgressions. These issues are ones that affect every member of the student body who pays an activity fee ? since it is the senate who approves the SA budget.

The only way to hold senate and ACJC accountable for their actions is for students to let them know that it is not acceptable and the easiest way for students to do this is to vote.



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