Yes, it is that time of year again, when The Eagle gets to lay down our iron talon and pen out our thoughts about the failures and (successes?) of Student Government.
Sarah McBride, formerly known as Tim, prefers to lead quietly. Her term in office has not been an emotional tour de force—there were no cape-flapping runs around campus, nor any rambunctious Welcome Week antics to set school spirit alight. That’s not to say that McBride has been lazy. She just hasn’t been visible.
To be fair, Nate Bronstein is a hard act to follow, and the two simply have different leadership styles. However, McBride’s visibility is so lacking that most of us have seen more of former president Bronstein this year than we have of McBride. It is nearly impossible to be more visible than Bronstein when he is trying. It’s quite a feat to be less visible than him when he’s nonchalantly going about his day.
Though McBride hasn’t been spending her time engaging students like a maniac, she has been working diligently on their behalf. We applaud the efforts of McBride’s office to lobby for the creation of a LGBTA studies minor, an addition to our curricula that retains AU’s status as a leader in LGBT affairs. Her office played a key role in the creation of Gender Neural Housing, another victory for LGBT students. She has worked well with the other branches of Student Government and has had a cordial and productive relationship with The Eagle. In every dealing we’ve had with her, she has shown herself to be an honest, forthright, genuine and outgoing person.
All in all, we’re happy to have had McBride as SG president. Tirelessly, she has engaged the Sisyphean task of progress for underrepresented groups. And she has represented the University to outside organizations with aplomb. Next year, we hope that Emily Yu will carry on this tact and devoted work ethic—and be cognizant of the image demands of her office.
Vice President Richards
The office of the vice president is perhaps the most demanding student position on campus. It does not require visibility but instead managerial skills of a Fortune 500 CEO. This year, Liz Richards has done a positively brilliant job overseeing the Kennedy Political Union, and The Eagle can do no more than to smile in awe at the spectacular cast of speakers brought in by KPU.
John Legend’s philanthropic dedication and musical talent left Bender Arena spellbound. Bill Clinton’s passion for fascinating ideas and Arkansas charm left us gushing (though he, too, had trouble taking his WONK of the Year award seriously). Jon Huntsman connected with our inner loser. And the Founder’s Day Ball, ticket problems aside, was a magnificent success.
Student Union Board, however, deserves less admiration. With the exception of Matisyahu and Legend, SUB’s artist selection has been laughable. If it were 2005, we would have been screaming at the top of our seventh grade lungs to hear Gym Class Heroes. It is not 2005. Some students have complained that a small group of disproportionately influential music fans largely decide SUB’s choices. The Eagle would like to know who still listens to Gym Class Heroes.
SUB’s continued flaws aside, Richards has done a great job as VP, and we hope VP Palak Gosar will live up to her impressive record.
As secretary, Kevin Sutherland reorganized and streamlined the Student Government website, a much-needed improvement that The Eagle applauds. The Jobs Board, though it has been fraught with fraudulent postings, is on the whole a success. We do, however, take issue with Sutherland’s record communicating with the student body. After the Jobs Board went back online, for example, many students did not know that it was back up. In our private dealings with him, however, The Eagle has found Sutherland to be extremely knowledgeable and competent. We hope he will continue to improve SG’s online presence and increase student engagement.
As comptroller, Eric Reath has been a competent manager of SG’s budget, coming closer to spending into the black than his predecessor.
AU Transportation Organization, however, has been a bureaucratic nightmare. We commend Reath for his passion and drive, but hope that he will reform AUTO to make transportation more readily available to students in his second term.
The Senate is a mixed bag this year — they have, as always, taken their jobs and themselves much too seriously, but they have also been active in advocating for veteran students, an important constituency who deserves our attention. Furthermore, we are glad that they did their job in keeping the Judiciary Board members accountable.
However, the Senate did not take a stand on adjunct unionization, declaring quixotically that adjunct professors “do not affect students.” And they haven’t made much progress in diversity. Next year, we hope that they can give us more to praise.
As it concerns the J-Board, the Board of Elections has been as bureaucratic as always, and, as we have done in the past, The Eagle urges them to consider cutting away some of the campaign red tape that might contribute to the former SG problem of inclusion.
On the whole, SG has been a fairly active organization. The flaws it has are those it has consistently. There have been no significant, large scandals and progress has come slowly but surely. However, aside from KPU, no department gives us just cause to shower it with praise. We hope that Yu, Gosar and the other incoming SG members will build on the progress made this year and try to remedy the continued deficiencies of SG that affect the student body. ≠ E
Editor’s Note: Tim McBride asked The Eagle to use her new preferred name, Sarah McBride. See page 25 for more.