A Letter to Student Government

I attended some of both the College Republican and Young Democrat meetings last night.  They each held a forum for Student Body President (SBP) candidates. What meet me was a smack in the face of boringness.

As a congressman I understand the need to sound like you have something important to say and do.  Nevertheless, “platforms” should be simple because the jobs required from the student government officials are simple. Congressmen approve appointments and approve funding.  Those are the two important things congress people do.  The SBP appoints a lot of people, can veto bills and set agendas (J.J. Raynor did this very effectively) if he wants.  Besides representing the students, that’s about it.

I’m not trying to be rude to you nice people who take student government very seriously and who work hard at what you do.  But, in the scheme of things, what you do should not be that important.  And you shouldn’t see yourselves as the supporters or the protectors of the students (as some SBP candidates seemed to posit last night).

Instead, you should see yourselves as people doing an extra curricular activity.  To see it as your job or as some sort of opportunity to centrally plan the activities of students is just silly.  The students don’t need you, student government officials.

For goodness sakes, your only real responsibility (in my opinion) is the responsible allocation of monies.  And, for that matter, if we didn’t have the student fee process I wouldn’t care.  My parents would have a greater amount of expendable income and I Heart Female Orgasm and the Carolina Review would have to find a way to fund themselves.  Boo-hoo.

All the students out there who vote should consider these things as they make choices.  Bottom line: student government positions are leadership positions.  The people you elect should be responsible and competent, but not power-hungry. By power-hungry I mean they should not see government or themselves as too self-important.  If they do, silly programs or extensions of programs that cost you money will pop up each year, every year, like wild-flowers.  Take for example the child-care fee increase or the safe walk program.

In conclusion, don’t feel the need to care too much about student government campaigns, but if you do, vote for the person who sounds the least full of himself and the least  interested all the while checking their competency.

10 thoughts on “A Letter to Student Government

  1. ___0_ Reply

    Are "student government positions … leadership positions" OR should student leaders be anonymous functionaries who are neither "supporters [n]or the protectors of the students"? You can't have it both ways. Leadership means, you know, leading.

    Re: O'Keefe and friends — pretty funny stuff, it's difficult to fully grasp the level of stupidity there. I imagine there are some CR staff who idolized young James for his career trajectory from right-wing college organizations to media celebrity…. now he's facing up to 10 years in federal prison because he's apparently as dumb as a rock.

  2. Riley Matheson Reply

    I would go so far as to say that anyone who actually votes in these elections is MUCH too involved in campus “politics.” I’ll never forget the SBP candidates who used to knock on my dorm room door. My freshman year (oops! Don’t want to be sexist! I meant to say “first” year…) my roommate put a sign on our door threatening to vote against the next candidate who knocked on our door, and our sophomore year we just about made some yuppie gasp when we told him that we would never waste the 20 seconds that it took to vote online just for the sake of keeping our pride. We moved off campus the next two years.

  3. reader Reply

    For some of us, it's not even our parents' expendable income that's going towards these fees, but rather our own minimum-wage income and student loan money.

    But go ahead: raise the student fees. I'll only graduate a couple thousand more in debt. I'm sure my enormous salary as a humanities major will more than cover it once I graduate.

    • jlcrowde Reply

      Don't get what you are talking about. Can't tell if you are mad at me or not. I certainly don't want to raise student fees.

      • reader

        I was agreeing. Student government takes themselves too seriously, resulting in ridiculous fee increases.

  4. Doppelgänger Reply

    Student government has no real power other than appropriating funds to clubs. It can be superseded at any time by this-or-that task force or what have you. It's really just a huge resume-padding operation. They shouldn't be paid a dime. From what I've seen of student government, barely anyone in it knows parliamentary procedure.

    We should elect them by gathering every undergraduate in the quad and tossing out glittery phallus-shaped hats. If it touches you, you have to serve the full term and wear the hat on campus at all times.

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