SGA should preserve representative democracy


In addition to a new Student Body President and Vice President, Wichita State students elected 38 senators to Student Government this spring.

Every year, Wichita State’s six colleges elect senators to represent them in SGA – two to five, depending on the size of the college – along with 15 At-Large Senators voted on by all students, two Returning Adult Senators, two International Senators, one Out-of-State Senator, and one Veteran Senator chosen by each respective population.

Of the 38 senators elected at the end of last semester, only 27 returned this fall to serve their term. For various reasons, 11 students chosen by the student body will not actually be a part of SGA.

That’s a shame.

The student body voted in good faith for the students they felt could best-represent them. SGA is supposed to be the voice of the students. That can’t be the case if the duly-chosen representatives don’t attend a single meeting or even take part in a single vote.

This is an issue year in and year out. It might just come with the territory. When you ask 38 college students to commit a year’s worth of time to something, you have to expect at least a few to back out – often for completely valid reasons. There isn’t much that can be done to prevent that.

That being said, there should be some measures in place to account for it.

Right now, any student can apply for one of the unfilled SGA positions. They just have to be screened by the Student Body President and then voted in by the Senate.

This gives Student Body President Paige Hungate the power to potentially stack the Senate with rubber stampers who will blindly push through her policies.

That isn’t what the students voted for.

Even if she is fair and balanced while vetting applicants, which I would expect to be the case, it could still raise some questions.

The student body deserves to feel confident that the SGA is representing their best interests. To do that, the SGA should find a way to get students more actively involved in choosing replacements for senators who go AWOL.