Like their counterparts in Congress, the Student Government Association began this term with a full plate of legislative goals and, it appeared, the political solidarity to implement them.
President Chris Pace and Executive Vice President Eric Fegan last spring became the first candidates to run on the same ticket at Northern Kentucky University, and both came into office with high hopes of increasing SGA’s role in university decision-making.
“We want student government not only in perception, but in reality,” Pace told The Northerner.
But, like Congress, SGA heads into its holiday break with much unfinished business left on the table.
At its August retreat, SGA presented three strategic goals: take over funding for activities programming, increase university funding of SGA and relocate Disability Services from the University Center’s third floor to the first floor.
Of those, only the last item has been set in motion, and the university had planned before SGA’s presentation to move Disability Services upon completion of the new student union.
Pace in September issued an executive order to review a plan allowing SGA to assume control of the Activities Programming Board, sparking hard feelings among some senators.
After vigorous debate, SGA voted in October to table the plan indefinitely.
To its credit, SGA still holds about two-thirds of its allocated budget, but has not managed to gain additional funding.
With budget cuts and tuition increases looming, it now appears unlikely, and unwise, to do so.
Some senators are frustrated by this SGA’s lack of accomplishment, complaining that too many resolutions remain in committee and never reach a vote.
Too much meeting time is devoted to planning and discussing retreats and other activities, and senators have expressed concern that too much time in committee meetings is spent bickering about Democrat-Republican political issues.
Individually, SGA members express a desire to improve life for students at NKU, and there is little reason to doubt their sincerity. Many talented and experienced students sit on SGA, and they are certainly capable of more – and with a likely tuition increase and budget cuts on the horizon, they’ll have an opportunity to test their abilities.
A tuition information forum, planned for the first week back to school in January, is a good start, and NKU students must do their part by showing up and making their voices heard. It’s your university, and it’s your money.
Unlike most students, however, SGA members hold the additional responsibility of serving as elected student representatives.
Serving on SGA should be considered an honor, and not just a bullet-point on a resume.
Let’s hope SGA remembers whom it works for, and approach with seriousness the tuition increase and other issues of vital importance to students.