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Opinions, Student Government Association
SGA should follow constitution
April 3, 2012

SGA should follow constitution

By Mesquite Editorial Board

A&M-San Antonio’s Student Government Association has been missing in action this semester. Whether it is the uncertainty of when and where their meetings will take place or the carelessness that seems to surround their election policies, their disorganization cannot continue to go unnoticed.

Compared to SGA’s formerly outstanding leadership, student representation and community service, this semester’s performance is severely lacking.

Few students know about SGA or its role on campus, so let’s review. SGA’s constitution provides an overview in Article I:

1. To provide for the exchange of information, ideas, and opinions on behalf of the student body.
2. To review and make recommendations on matters proposed by students, administrators, faculty, and staff.
3. To promote cooperation and partnership among the students and the University faculty, staff, and administration.
4. To promote scholarship and the interests of student life.
5. To develop positive citizenship and leadership to the University and local community.”

At the moment, SGA does not appear to be meeting any of these goals.

Last week it was announced that elections for new members have been postponed until fall.

After interviews with SGA President Zaira Rodriguez and Laura Pantano, assistant vice president of student engagement and success, we learned the postponement was because of poor advertising, which then resulted in a lack of interest in the elections as a whole.

Originally, applications were due March 9. However, because of the lack of publicity and outreach to the student body, SGA was then advised to extend the deadline to March 23.

With no further promotional efforts, the extension proved to be ineffective and pointless. On the heels of their decision to push back the deadline, Pantano (in consult with SGA and other administrators) decided to move elections to fall.

SGA bylaws contain an election code. Section I states the SGA Election Commissioner is to oversee the process to ensure its fairness. Responsibilities of the commissioner include informing campus media and providing notice 10 school days before election on which positions are open, how and where to file and filing deadlines.

We don’t know the full story on how SGA publicized elections but we do know officers decided to leave applications on the cafeteria tables and in the office of student engagement and success. That’s not much of a publicity effort and is not in accordance with the bylaws.

Pantano revealed that of the 30-50 applications dropped in various locations, only three were turned in. The rest of the applications had disappeared completely by the beginning of the following week. Both Pantano and SGA President Zaira Rodriguez speculated that A&M-San Antonio’s overnight cleaning crew may have thrown them all away. However, neither can be certain.

To SGA’s credit, they do lack an office space or dedicated bulletin board to place notices (a bulletin board is mentioned in SGA’s official documentation as a place to advertise events). But, they do have access to the digital screens, opportunities to send out campus wide emails, and officers who could promote their organization before and after classes. Access is there; energy and leadership is not.

SGA is described in the constitution as the “official advisory body of the students to the University administration, faculty and staff” (Section 6). As such, we urge officers to review the constitution and bylaws and have an internal review before there is reason to introduce another important portion of the bylaws: Article IV, officer qualifications.

Stop making excuses. As students, we all share outside obligations. We balance work, school and family. But, we have an obligation to each other to meet our responsibilities. And we do this for the benefit of everyone involved.

To the student body: Step up in the fall and apply to be part of SGA. We need responsible students who will keep us up to date on issues and events (more than the three days that the University gives us via jaguar email).

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