SGA needs a complete overhaul from top to bottom


Staff Editorial, The Hornet Tribune

In a few days, the student body will head over to the John Garrick Hardy Center to vote for the Student Government Association (SGA) executive officers. After listening to two weeks of campaigning, students are very hopeful that the quality of their student life might change with these new officers.
However, this staff does not believe that new officers will ever change the operations of Alabama State University Student Government Association.There will be new faces, who will purchase new suits, again, and travel the southeast attending football games, attending the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP) Conference, and enjoying privileges that most other students will never have, but the fact of the matter remains – that the same old problems and issues that students have encountered and dealt with for years will continue without being addressed or changed by the students who are elected top these posts.
It is no secret that some students who run for the various offices do so because it is an avenue to get their tuition, room and board paid, as opposed to improving the quality of student life for the rest of the student body. Once some of them are elected, they do not keep office hours, they do not return calls, they do not answer emails and they are not sensitive to the needs of the student body. However, those same officers are rewarded with a 20-hour employment contract on top of receiving free tuition, room and board.
It is the opinion of this staff that in order for SGA to be effective, there needs to be a complete overhaul and restructuring where students who are elected are accountable and actually answer to the people who elected them.
First, there needs to be a revising and amending of the governing document, the SGA Constitution. It is more than a decade old and many things have changed since it became effective in 2012.
Second, after the SGA Constitution is revised and amended, it must be followed and respected. How can students expect for university administrators to respect their constitution, when the officers who swear to uphold the constitution do not?
For example, the SGA Constitution provides for the SGA president to give a state of the association address at least twice per semester. How many times was the address given this year? The SGA Constitution provides that the SGA treasurer should provide The Hornet Tribune with all financial reports that are submitted to the SGA president and student senate regarding organization allocations. How many times have those reports been given to The Hornet Tribune for publication? The SGA Constitution provides that the secretary release a newsletter that include the activities of the SGA, the minutes of all the branches and distribute to all of the student body. When was the last time that students received minutes of all the branches?
The important thing is that everyone understand that the SGA is in need of a new vision, a 21st century mission and a thorough understanding of what the roles are for each executive officer as well as the legislative and judicial branches.
Good representation for the student body is not just showing up in new suits and uttering a few words behind a podium.
Good representation includes keeping office hours so that students who have concerns will know when they come to the offices of the SGA, someone will be there to hear their complaints and help them solve their problems.
Good representation includes answering emails and returning phone calls when students call with their complaints and do everything within the power of the government to solve those problems and concers.
Good representation means scheduling and executing weekly senate meetings and placing them on YouTube so that students can see what bills are being introduced and passed and then sending out those bills to each of the students to let them know that this is new legislation that was just passed and students must follow the new legislation.
Good representation means that each of the elected officers will follow the provisions listed in the constitution and perform their constitutional duties as stated
Good representation means that if the provisions in the constitution are not followed, a good attorney general will be on the case.
Good representation means that the SGA will have a functioning judicial branch of government that listens to the the problems of students and student organizations. If the students only see the judicial branch when someone is getting sworn in, that is a real problem that means SGA is dysfunctional.
It is time to overhaul the SGA and realize that it is student government and not student activities.
It is time to overhaul and restructure student government at Alabama State University.