Letter to the Editor — Paul Raymond
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There were some events that took place last week that challenged what I believed to be the purpose of any governmental system. During our previous senate meeting a group of students interrupted the meeting and introduced a resolution that called for SGA’s support in a vote of no confidence in University President John Bardo. I am going to spare you all the details on what went down as I am going to assume you have seen or read about it in this very publication. What came next was a dramatic twist that came right out of a soap opera; The Sunflower reported that Vice President Taben Azad among other SGA members helped orchestrate the protest that occurred on Tuesday and facilitated the introduction of the resolution the following day. Now I am not going to level insults or criticisms toward the Student Body Vice President or any of my fellow Senators, I consider these people to be my friends and I respect them immensely however I will use this scenario to perhaps pinpoint what the purpose of government is and how it should react to these particular scenarios.
The following day I released a statement so to speak justifying my abstention from the aforementioned vote, I won’t re-litigate it word for word but the bottom line is I felt a vote on this particular resolution violated parliamentary procedure and thus perverted the nature of our association as a whole. I have no problem saying I support We The Students and the things they stand for however I will say I have a problem with introducing an incredibly important and crucial resolution and voting on it on the same day. The fact that members of SGA were involved in this particular situation further adds to the murkiness of this entire process. Senators and Executive members should be allowed to participate in these kinds of demonstrations however claiming to be unaware of such demonstrations only to find out the contrary to be true just doesn’t paint a very nice picture for an institution that is supposed to represent all students with honesty transparency.
People tend to complain about government and how slowly it moves and justifiably so; government ideals do not shift as quickly as public perception because government is supposed to be a collective body of people who put careful consideration into the decisions they make. Members of government should and must understand that their decisions will impact the society it represents for generations to come. The same can be said for our SGA, while we may move just a tad quicker than any state or federal government we still have parliamentary procedure in place to ensure that we as an institution who represent an entire student body do not make a hasty, misguided decision. I am not suggesting that heeding the advice of We The Students was misguided or hasty, I am saying that voting on this resolution the day it was introduced was hasty and misguided. If I had it my way we would have listened to the resolution and tabled it until the next senate meeting so it could be uploaded on OrgSync and so that Senators could further educate themselves about the issues being addressed within this resolution. I firmly believe more Senators would have voted yes on this resolution if this were the case.
Upon hearing each and every one of my fellow Senators pass their votes I sat in my seat struggling with my urge to support this cause and the need for proper deliberation and debate. The right to protest is incredibly important, having activist leaders in our society is also incredibly important. Activism has it’s place in government and God knows activist leaders within government did and continue to get things done for the betterment of our society but each and every one of those leaders abided by parliamentary procedure because as far as policy goes nothing is more powerful than a carefully considered decision being passed overwhelmingly especially when it comes from the people.
Out-of-State Senator – Abstained