The Undergraduate House of Representatives was presented with two bills this past Tuesday that have the potential of changing the upcoming elections process for the better. Both bills dealt with the qualifications that a candidate must have in order to run for office. Students now need only to be in the process of completing 30 hours to serve as a major representative and next week the House will vote on a bill regarding the 60 hour qualifications for executive officers.
These bills open up Student Government to more candidates, specifically first and second-years who are often the most interested in holding office, but have previously been unable to do so due to the stringent requirements. While having experienced representatives is a worthwhile safeguard to the student body, student involvement is more crucial. Ideally, both major representatives and executive officers would have multiple years of Tech experience behind them, but we cannot afford that luxury.
The recent impeachment of chronically inactive members illustrates that SGA needs an infusion of interested new students, as SGA attendance and involvement is already precariously low at times.
The House also appointed members to the elections committee, but unfortunately did so in defiance of the nominations policy. As these members will be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the elections process, it should have been paramount that they go through the appropriate nominations process. Instead, the House appointed these members based merely on the word of the executive board, which while trustworthy, is not the proper procedure when dealing with nominations that can have such serious ramifications. Propriety is key during the entirety of the elections process, and the rushed behavior of the House does not indicate a sufficient level of preparation going into the elections process.
SGA needs to apply the same positive attitudes of inclusiveness and transparency to the elections process as it has to student involvement for the past semester. All students should be encouraged to run for all offices, not just entry-level positions as representatives, but executive offices as well. Any student interested in holding office should be given the opportunity, regardless of hours completed. Experience is a requirement, but the experience need not be in Student Government. The executive office of SGA, the President and Vice President, represent the student body, not just the other branches of SGA. Experience to lead the student body can come from any multitude of organizations, and a diverse and well-rounded election ballot will only improve the quality of SGA in the long run.