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Opinions, Student Government Association
Editorial: To slam or not to slam?
October 4, 2012

Editorial: To slam or not to slam?

Illustration by Melody Mendoza

By The Mesquite Editorial Board

It seems like every week now, members of the Mesquite Editorial Board are contemplating whether to slam an entity of Texas A&M-San Antonio for not doing enough, or to commend them for their part in establishing a successful and growing member of The Texas A&M System.

The source of our dilemma is that while we are a startup institution, we question whether we should be further along. At the same time, it takes years to set a foundation.

We consider all these angles when putting forth an editorial viewpoint.

On the one hand, these entities — administrators, faculty, staff and students — can make the justification that the University is a startup institution, which is changing frequently, understaffed, and a commuter campus with campus locations 10 miles apart.

On the other hand, students are not benefitting from excuses that result in last-minute communication efforts and lack of organization.

When do the justifications become invalid excuses? How many years and buildings later will it take for A&M-San Antonio to be an established university?

As journalists, we’re responsible for seeking the truth and reporting it, whether bad news or good.

But in recent days, we’ve come together questioning the ethics of holding a University accountable at the beginning stages of development.

Although many perceive journalists as monstrous people just seeking to catch someone in an act so they can make a name for themselves, The Mesquite strives to practice ethical, educated journalism in the pursuit of truth. The kind of journalism that we learn in our classes — balanced, two-sided, and circumspect — and put into action each day at this student-run publication.

Our current question is whether to call out Student Government Association elections, one entity that has displayed the most recent example of disarray.

Online voting was Sept. 24-27 for SGA candidates. SGA President Melissa Quintanilla and Vice President Javier Carvajal took over elections this week. The two leaders ran uncontested on a single ballot. Other SGA members are expected to be announced Friday. Read more

The Mesquite Editorial Board’s consideration this week was to question the length of time it took to announce SGA members. Why would this task take eight days if voting was done online and results are immediately given?

Before the board decided to go forth and “slam” SGA, we considered other factors: Former SGA President Zaira Rodriguez, Master of International Business student, and Adviser Jolene Des Roches, director of student life and wellness, showed collaborative leadership by organizing and training new SGA candidates.

To make it more difficult for them, A&M-San Antonio is so young it lacks traditions we can rely on. In other words, it has no institutional memory and maybe should rely on other established members of the A&M System for guidance. Those campus community leaders who do are often rewarded with support.

Considering these justifications, when will they become invalid?

Disorganization still lingered from the previous SGA elections last semester. Originally, elections were scheduled to be each spring semester, but because of similar complications last semester, they were postponed.

Now again this semester, elections were unorganized, not well planned and, to the students’ disadvantage, not hyped or made a priority.

SGA had flyers on all bulletin boards at Main and Brooks campuses and an announcement on the digital boards. Candidates also used the bulletin boards to pin up posters and announced it on Facebook.

But it doesn’t look like students got the memo. The Mesquite reported Sept. 27 that many students had little knowledge about elections. Read more

The Mesquite suggests that one thing was missing through all of this: faces. Has Facebook really become the actual face of this generation?

Candidates could have organized forums, relied on professors who supported their goals, met with students and offered to speak at an event. If we did all these things we could stop calling ourselves a startup and simply call ourselves …. Texas A&M University-San Antonio, where the tradition began.

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  • The Mesquite was advised by SGA President Melissa Quintanilla and Advisor Jolene DesRoches on several occasions that any information pertaining to the SGA elections would not be released until Friday, October 5, 2012; however we were sorry to learn that the Mesquite chose to run an editorial discrediting SGA prior to the release of our proposed agenda. While it is true that the Student Government Association has faced several unforeseen circumstances in its existence, be assured that the current administration has worked diligently this past week to establish a firm foundation preceding any public discussion. Ideally SGA elections would have been held in April 2012, as scheduled, and the current organization would have had an established agenda for the fall session, but unfortunately, as you know, this has not been the case. It is our belief that the Mesquite should have supported SGA’s intentions prior to the editorial, as this reflects poorly not only on our organization, but on our school as well. None the less, SGA is excited to announce that we are now on a collective, unyielding track and hope to establish a strong collaboration with the school’s only student newspaper and source of information. We are eager to successfully fulfill our SGA duties and our main objective is to work effortlessly with any and all student organizations to promote and protect the interests of the student body.

    Regards,

    Student Government Association
    Texas A&M University – San Antonio

  • Pingback: Letter to the Editor: SGA president responds to ‘slam’ editorial - The Mesquite()

  • Hoyt Garner

    I would like to start out by thanking the Mesquite for all of its hard work in reporting the news on and around campus. I would also like to thank them for bringing this issue to the forefront where it can be discussed and solutions can be found.

    Yes, we are a growing campus that has experienced it’s share of growing pains that we are learning from and working hard to fix. As a student that has been and is currently involved in several students organizations and seen them and this University grow I will be one of the first to say that there are communication issues when it comes to what is going on with the University and student organizations. Though it must be remembered that this issue runs both ways. The University has several helpful resources for the students to use in order to stay informed about what is going on with the University and student organizations.

    The first is our student emails. These help us not only stay informed but are the medium that we are supposed to use to communicate with University departments, faculty, and staff. The University and student organizations have flyers and information that is sent out via it to all the students in order that they may be informed about events on campus whether they are at Brooks or Main Campus. At the beginning of the semester IT spent several weeks with tables set up at both campuses in order to help students set up their jaguar email and trouble shoot any other issues that they might have with the campus computer systems. Also the Campus Activities Board has had IT at its events in order to help students register and set up their emails in order for them to have access to all the informative content that is sent out via email.

    The second is the University’s homepage and calendar on which not only do University departments list events but so do the student organizations, which can request that their events be posted on. This is a very helpful resource as one can look at a list of the events that are occurring on either a particular day or over the course of the month. This is the most concise place to look for events that are happening on campus.

    The third are the media and bulletin boards which are on both Brooks and Main Campus. These boards have electronic and paper flyers of events that are not only being hosted by the University and student organizations but also from members of the surrounding community on their events and opportunities. While these boards do not hold every piece of information about every event happening on campus one can find out about many events that are going on.

    The fourth is The Mesquite, the student-run University newspaper, where you can subscribe to their twitter alerts, the rss feeds, and their Facebook page which has lots of information about what is happening around campus. They also have an online calendar of events that they keep updated to let students know what is going on. This site is very informative as it provides in depth coverage of events and news worthy stories.

    The fifth is Facebook, whether the University’s or a student organizations. A majority of the student organizations have Facebook pages or groups that they post on regularly and most of the University departments have a Facebook page of their own that they post on to let students, faculty, and staff know what is going on. This are good things to like or join if you are interested in keeping up with them.

    The last and the most important is to talk to your classmates and other people on campus because they are likely to know about an event that is happening on campus that you may not know about. These people are valuable resources. Not only can you find things out from them but you can pass on information about events that are happening on campus that you know about too. If you tell 10 people and they tell 10 people then before long the whole student body will know about what is going on.

    The other issue that we must look at when it comes to communication is the student body itself. There are many students that come to school, sit in class, then leave, and never take the time to find out about what is going on. They do not ask or care about what is happening on campus. These students are here to just get a degree and then go on with their lives. Whether they are traditional students or not these student are uninterested in knowing or finding out about what is going on at school and when asked they do not know about things that might have interested them. If the students do not care about learning what is happening on campus no matter how hard the University and student organization try to inform them they will remain uninformed by their choice. The students that want to be a part of the University and student organizations look for those opportunities and take advantage of them when they find them. We must not wait for them to come to us but we, as a student body, must seek them out those opportunities otherwise the traditions will not be formed and we will die as a University.

    The argument that we have a high number of non traditional students and thus they will not get involved on campus is erroneous as we have a number of student organizations, such as the American Marketing Association and the MBA Association, that are made up of a majority if not fully of non traditional students who have not only made the effort to get involved with a student organization on campus but have made names for their organizations and gotten that organizations name out there for those other students that are willing to look.

    Yes, the SGA had several issues last year and part of those issues where lack of students wanting to step up to the plate and be the voice for their fellow students. But those issues are being resolved, being worked through, the organizations is improving, and moving forward. I look forward to seeing what Melissa will do with the SGA and all the things that they will get accomplished this year. The SGA now has strong leaders, a clear mission, and a driving force behind it to accomplish it’s mission and as much as it sets its collective mind to. I hope to continue to see strong students stepping up and taking leadership in this University in order to help give it those traditions that we need and help its institutional memory grow. Some of this will not happen until we expand downward due to the nature of our commuter population and the fact that institutional memory and traditions are stronger in 4 year schools than they ever are in a 2 year school. But we as students can encourage our fellow students to get involved on campus and to find out what is going on. Now that the issue is front and foremost let us come together and fix this issue so that we may have these traditions and institutional memory that is so integral to our success.

    Do not let the dream die! Let our involvement and how much we care about our school become one of our greatest traditions so that we, as a University, may prosper!

  • Armando Prado

    Letter to the Mesquite Editorial Board:

    In my opinion, I believe A&M-San Antonio is progressing beautifully as they transition from a startup institution into a great, established University. We must all keep in mind that it takes many years if not decades before we can become a University such as A&M-College Station. There are many factors that affect the everyday working lives of our administration, faculty, and staff just as there are many factors that can affect the readership of the Mesquite.

    The Student Assistants as well as Jaguar Ambassadors who work out of the Office of Student Life and Wellness will agree that there can always be better ways to improve the communication dilemma between the administrators and students, however, we must take into consideration that this campus has a high population of nontraditional students. Many students here are simply trying to get away from the more traditional universities and are trying to finish up their degrees. The years spent at this University are short ranging from a year to two years depending on the degree sought. Many students are just uninterested in our student organizations or activities as we learned when we tabled in the main foyer asking students to vote for the SGA election.

    It does not take 10 buildings, 100 buildings, or even 1 building to be called a University, however, it does take a student body to be proud of their University and call it an established institution. If we the student body gathered together and unite, we can actually be a prominent member of the A&M System and be a well-known university in our community, state, and nation. Instead of slamming an entity in our university, we must all support each other and help improve organizations and entities. Every big university and their traditions were all made by their students, not the administration. We must all stop relying on our administration, become adults and work together to establish the traditions that we all desire.

    The Student Life & Wellness Office door is always opened for students who wish to come by and we recommend that any student who wants to be more involved in student life should come by to learn more about the many organizations on campus. We, the student assistants and Jaguar Ambassadors, all want to work together with the Mesquite to help this University grow and become the cornerstone of our community and generation, but we must all work together rather than slam each other.

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