Transparency Should Be The Best Policy for SGA

So, what does it take to fill the Student Government Association chambers on Monday meeting nights? Apparently, a little bit of drama does it. Now, this is just conjecture, but consider that, on a night where the rumor was that a student senator was in trouble, the chambers, normally a quiet, dismal place, erupted with activity. Coincidence?

Senators Marquise McMiller and Natalie Amore, both sophomores, squared off in the floor over accusations that Amore had stolen from McMiller. Several other senators later chided the colleagues for their lack of decorum (a word that McMiller has popularized on the senate floor – for anyone who’s ever sat in on a session). They suggested the debate be done in private, and “only topics that directly involve the student body at large” should be discussed during the meeting in front of students.

Really? In private? Student senators (and other representatives) do deserve personal privacy as does anyone, but someone needs to remind them that as our elected leaders, we have a right to know that – for instance – allegations of theft came up and remain unresolved one week later. I think that’s only fair.

Meanwhile, students were obviously interested – if not for their right to “proper representation,” at least for the taste of conflict. I can appreciate that. Conflict drives all stories: that’s the writer’s rule #1 for plotting. And accusations, denial and the backlash are enough to drive the tension.

Rather than complaining about senators needing to hide their affairs from their peers and keep potentially damaging situations “in-house,” student leaders should work to find out how to engage other students, win their support and draw positive attention to SGA, without the promise of a dramatic clash.