By Alex Hoffman
You know you go to AU when ending the politics of the Student Government involves changing the title of “senator” to “representative,” or when “impeachment” becomes “removal from office.”
Over the past few weeks, instead of ending the politics, the latest referendum fight has turned into a horrible reenactment of the “West Wing.”
At this point, there is no question that SG needs to change. The organization has simply become too good at recreating real government gridlock. But that change shouldn’t lack common sense and cost more of your money, especially a year after SG has completely redone its branding by buying new banners, t-shirts and other materials with the new logo.
The fact is, the proposed referendum is a shallow change. When looking at the details, it is clear that politics will remain just as divisive as they are today. It gives four executive members the ability to serve another year in the newly formed Board of Representatives (the old Undergraduate Senate) without confirmation or re-election. It’s a revolving door that doesn’t end the politics – it just ensures that a smaller group of insiders will have control over the organization.
What’s even sadder is the fact that as a student body, AU has been through this before. In 2004, when the Student Confederation (now that was a name change we needed) transformed itself into the SG. The reform process was rushed, filled with fierce arguments and ultimately offered shallow changes.
Here we are eight years later on the verge of going through the process again. For the sake of future AU students, isn’t it time to learn from these mistakes? Isn’t it time for reform that isn’t just a shallow name change? Isn’t it time for the reform to be truly transparent and open from start to finish, not just days before the Election Day?
Those against the referendum believe that if we are to reform SG we need to do it the right way, at the right time, with a level of common sense we haven’t seen in the last two attempts to transform the organization. That’s why we are proposing an actual open and transparent system that gives student organizations an actual seat at the table, the ability to vote on the creation of the new referenda line by line, issue by issue. Rather than meeting behind closed doors over the summer, we want to ensure that any student who wants to play a role in shaping the new SG will have a chance to do so. Rather than waiting six months to talk to you about the reform, we intend to continue conversation with the student body from start to finish.
Alex Hoffman is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and the campaign manager for Students for Transparency, a group of students who oppose the constitutional reform.