Letter to the Editor: SGA response to Consensus

Photo by Tyler Meuter

We, the members of the Executive Cabinet of SGA, feel as though the Technique’s Consensus Opinion last week inaccurately reflects the overall progress that SGA initiatives have brought to campus this year. While the Technique correctly observed that we have focused on improving our internal performance, we have also made headway on the vast majority of our external goals as outlined in the Roseen-Banner platform.

To illustrate how we have been working to improve the student experience, we can highlight the progress made on any number of our goals outlined in the platform. Some of our attention had to be shifted to mitigate urgent situations like the Klaus room reservation policy change and Peter’s Parking Deck closure. But we have dedicated significant attention to our platform as well.

Our campaign platform is a list of goals that, when taken collectively, articulates our campus vision. Our team was elected because of this vision for campus, and we have been working every day to achieve it. Just one-third of the way into the school year, we have already made significant progress on many of these goals. Out of 72 projects enumerated in our platform, we have moved forward on 51, or over 70%. While every goal in the platform may not yet be fully realized, we are confident that each of these goals will move forward.

A large number of our platform goals focused on the internal development of SGA. In fact, about 25% of our platform was dedicated to internal initiatives. The reason for this internal focus is to provide long-term change within our organization that will allow future SGA membership to make the largest campus impact. Previously, our Director of Internal Affairs was responsible primarily for planning a banquet and hosting social events. Now, this position has evolved to oversee leadership initiatives, mentorship programs, and an organization-wide retreat.

The driving purpose behind all of these projects is to equip our members with resources to help them better serve the student body. Focusing on internal improvements does not mean that we cannot also be effective externally. In fact, we believe that there is a strong correlation between internal development and our effectiveness at improving the overall student experience on campus.

To clarify, the internal incentives program mentioned in last week’s consensus focuses on rewarding representatives for work that goes above and beyond their “basic duties”.

The intention of the program was never to reward representatives for completing their required responsibilities. Several student groups have similar programs aimed at improving their organization by recognizing high-performing members. Likewise, we think that this program will improve the overall effectiveness of SGA members, thus improving the experience that all students have interacting with SGA.

We believe that it is the Technique’s responsibility to be the eyes for the student body. As such, we try to communicate our progress directly to the Technique. To do this, we issue biweekly press releases that outline our progress.

The consensus opinion last week called out our lack of initiatives focused on school spirit and student-faculty relations. This year we have worked on programs designed to improve school spirit and the campus community, like A Home for the Holidays, Football 101, the International Sports Clinic, White & Gold Jenga, and chalking in support of LGBTQIA students. Additional efforts to improve student-faculty relations include the Academic Liaison Board and the Provost’s Student Advisory Board.

We believe in their consensus, the editors of the Technique have shown negligence in assessing our progress without considering or inquiring about SGA initiatives. By failing to see the explicit progress made on these issues, the Technique is limiting the campus’ view of SGA.