Staff Editorial: Grab your tools, it’s time to rebuild the relationship
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The relationship between the Student Government Association of Wichita State and university administration is not healthy or professional.
Tuesday, 19.7 percent of Wichita State’s student body voted in the election with 58.3 percent deciding on Paige Hungate to lead the 60th Session of SGA. All but six elected senators belong to Hungate’s campaign, United We Stand.
Hungate has promised to put facts before speculation and eliminate the antagonistic relationship with WSU President John Bardo and his team of executives.
“That just sets a bad precedent, thinking the administration is always doing something wrong,” Hungate said.
If we as students demand university administration hear our voices, let’s hold our elected student leadership to the same standards we would hold university administration. Change starts with communication and action.
“If we can’t all talk with each other and know we’re all human beings at the end of the day, that’s where things end and that’s why there’s so much tension,” Hungate said.
But that’s a simplified solution to the troubles between SGA and the administration this year. The problems have been building for years and it will take more than potluck dinner for administrators to regain the trust of students.
Breck Towner, student body vice president-elect, enters as an outsider to the tattered relationship between the two organizations. He said, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”
It’s important to note that Towner works in President Bardo’s office, so it can be assumed he’ll be able to get along with the executive team.
Student Body President Joseph Shepard said he believes university administration doesn’t have to give Hungate and Towner a chance, stating that the two will work together well because the two parties rarely share disagreement — which is true.
A changed face does not fix the problems brought up by students outside of student government, which have lasted more than the two years of Shepard’s sessions. Shepard said he will work with Hungate in a transition period as he exits in the ongoing weeks.
Hopefully she will listen to him, she will learn from him, and she will listen to students who don’t share her political views — but beyond listening, The Sunflower hopes she hears.
Hungate said she wants to take the politics out of SGA. She seems to have a blindspot for what constitutes politics. Several students have found her actions in student senate this year partisan and politically motivated.
A healthy, “work with the administration” attitude doesn’t seem like a bad idea, but it seems like the administration has a proven record of ignoring students if they disagrees with its agenda. If steps can be taken in a student-first, positive direction by United We Stand, then that’s fantastic. But if a good relationship with the administration comes at the cost of ignoring hurting students, the relationship between students and the administration will be even more unhealthy than ever.