It’s SGA’s mess to fix
On Monday, April 7, Steve Erwin, associate vice president of campus life and auxiliary services, apparently couldn’t stand to watch it anymore, and that’s partly understandable.
Stepping in to this year’s entirely disrupted student government campaign, he sat Gorilla Alliance down with previously disqualified Letner/Hebrlee and dictated terms.
As we’ve said before, SGA elections, which remain open until 5 p.m. Thursday, April 10, are an important chance for students to choose their leadership. Key word there: students.
The circumstances of the vote on the part of SGA’s election board to disqualify Jake Letner and Jaecy Hebrlee’s party remain grounds for energetic debate.
However, students took that vote – students who are mostly elected members of the Senate and who were appointed by other elected senators.
Only when faced with no other choice should senators’ power be overridden, although there is no question that this is the worst political crisis SGA has faced in years.
Erwin stepped away from his usual practice of calmly observing SGA’s meetings and mainly offering advice only when consulted.
He has by most accounts done a decent job as an SGA adviser, but in suddenly assuming his role as an administrator and resolving a crisis of elected students with his own unelected authority, the future has been left uncertain.
At the very least, a simple majority vote of the Senate approving Erwin’s action ought to be required.
As things stand, the next time any administrator decides that SGA isn’t taking care of business, he or she may just deprive them of their authority. No one’s motives are suspect, but some kind of check is still needed.
Whoever wins this election needs to examine, as Erwin has rightly recommended, every rule and regulation pertaining to elections and to the balance of power between SGA and the administration.
Failing to produce concrete reform will risk an even worse crisis in the future and will cause the choice not to vote – a choice consistently made by more than 80 percent of the student body – make a lot of sense.
It is true that had Erwin not acted, Gorilla Alliance would have coasted to an automatic victory, excepting for a handful of opposition senator-candidates.
While we find it hard to say many good things about this race, which has been plagued by a firestorm of negativity fueled by both sides, our view of the election’s central choice remains unchanged.
Both sides are, in terms of their goals and qualifications, suitable for leadership. Students should still vote for one of them. It is our hope that a stronger student representation, clean of all this muck, will come out of that.