OUR VIEW: SGA Elections Do Matter, Take Pause Before You Vote
by Editorial Board
Feb 18, 2010 | 2977 views | 3 3 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
You have important choices to make today, students of Auburn, choices that will forever impact The Plains for you and the generations of Auburn family members who come after you.

The Student Government Association elections are today, and the candidates for office represent a wide array of directions for Auburn’s future growth and well-being.

We worry you do not fully realize the power you have right now, and we want you to know what your vote really means this year.

At stake in this election are a vast array of issues and problems facing our campus.

You may not realize it, but the SGA does actually have a fair amount of power on this campus.

The SGA Senate’s Organizations Board gets to decide what groups have a right to form and be a part of life on this campus.

The SGA also gets to allocate your $15 student activity fee.

While your $15 alone may not seem like a lot, when combined with the activities fees of Auburn’s other 24,136 students, the number is given greater meaning: $362,055.

$362, 055 is only the student contribution to the fund which usually tops out at well over $1 million each year.

The activity fee is only a small part of the money controlled by the SGA.

The activity fee is just the money that affects what bands and acts the UPC brings to Auburn, the publication of the Glomerata and Auburn Circle and the airwaves of WEGL and Eagle Eye, among other things.

A budget of $1 million is just one of the piles of money the SGA distributes on this campus.

The SGA president has the added responsibility and power of choosing a cabinet, handpicking the people who run our campus blood drives and major events.

These same students lobby on your behalf as student ambassadors in the Capitol hallways of Montgomery and the world at large.

The SGA are our student leaders, and they have the powers to affect us all.

Proposed constitutional changes are a rallying cry for the SGA this year, changes mainly to do with the Jurisprudence Court.

There will be new executives, a student chief justice and attorney general, as the Jurisprudence Court will become the venue for organizations and activities projects with grievances against the SGA.

There is a great deal at stake in these elections, but we don’t realize it.

Why?

Honestly, it’s because the SGA campaigns are treated in a sophomoric fashion.

The campaigns act as giant pep rallies, throwing out slogans, candy and coupons like some sort of demented, vote-grabbing Mardi Gras float.

Platforms and issues are seldom discussed outside of the usually unwatchable debates; concourse dancing and chants are given prevalence instead.

Not since the days of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall have votes been so blatantly bought, as students trade their votes for discounts to Moe’s and TCBY.

Many of us know several students who vote simply based on the quality of coupons given out.

Why do we encourage this behavior?

Why do we let the candidates do this?

In some ways, we are getting what we deserve.

By treating these elections as if they were little more than pep rallies and coupon machines, we, as a student body, continue to travel down a dark and frightening path.

What we would like to see is an SGA executive group that actually follows through on the promises made in its collective platforms.

Sadly, the best of intentions exhibited in those well-meant platforms end up being left by the wayside when the realities of their jobs set in.

Rare is the executive who follows through on such promises.

Jacob Watkins’ victory in securing the Toomer’s Ten was a remarkable feat, and his name will go down in the annals of Auburn’s history as one of the more effective SGA presidents.

We are happy to see pedestrian safety present in the platforms of several candidates.

Environmental sustainability, financial responsibility and student affairs all get head-nods from the candidates as well.

Bully for mentioning the issues, candidates, but not one of you offers any concrete plans as to how you will accomplish these goals.

However, this may not truly be the candidates’ fault. Their predecessors also lacked concrete plans for implementing their agendas as well.

We need to expect more from our student representatives.

We must hold them accountable for the promises they make and question them on the issues facing students on this campus.

As a campus medium, we assure you we will do everything with in our power to make sure the SGA and their actions will be covered.

We will not waver or fail in our efforts to make sure that you, the electorate, will continue to be informed about the new executives and the people who will come after them.

But, for now, Auburn, take pause before you vote and look at the candidates’ platforms.

Make your vote an informed, and don’t simply click the button in waste.

Your vote matters. Vote well.
Comments
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COBstudent
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February 23, 2010
I think that Sasser's idea on opening the colleges with card access is a great idea. I do not see where it could cause "trouble". As the previous poster mentioned, the engineering building has already implemented this. I do not know of any trouble it has caused them. I am a Business student and there are many programs in the new Tiger/Bloomberg lab that are not featured in any other lab on campus. So, I can only do some of my assignments in that computer lab. Which is reserved by classes many days. I think it would be great to have access. Also, it would be great for group assignments to be able to meet in their college with access to such computer labs vs. having to work around each others day schedules, when many students are working during the day and unable to meet up.

I really hope this program is implemented! Congrats to Sasser. (I didn't vote for him, but still see that he has great ideas!)
SGA ELECTIONS
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February 23, 2010
I could not disagree more with the previous post, and I believe the article overlooks some of the successes of SGA in the past.

It states "What we would like to see is an SGA executive group that actually follows through on the promises made in its collective platforms."

I think that the past president, Jacob Watkins, did a fantastic job implementing his platform and serving students. Lauren Hayes, the previous SGA president, was able to accomplish this to an even greater extent. She really put sustainability at the forefront and worked fantastically with the Board of Trustees. I am not sure that we have ever had a more professional President than her, and she definitely was able to put forth the concerns of the students.

As far as the article's statement "Bully for mentioning the issues, candidates, but not one of you offers any concrete plans as to how you will accomplish these goals." That is the fault of the students. It is hard enough to get the students to read the platforms in their current length. If the candidates were to draw out the process in which their platforms were to be implemented it would be over 50 pages. Having worked in SGA for several years, it is quite clear what a drawn out process it is to accomplishing anything. It takes hundreds of emails, phonecalls and meetings, and that is really the "concrete" aspect of it, but that is not something that a candidate puts in a platform.

As far as the previous poster's concern about the student center being open 24 hours: With the required meal plan for students now, it only makes since that they have the food providers available to them on their schedule. When SGA pushed to have the library open 24 hrs (which it is now open 24 hrs because of SGA's work) there was the same concern about the amount it would be used and the money it would cost to keep it open. There is currently no debate amongst the administration that it was the correct decision to have it open 24 hours. The Student Center will be used if it is open.

As far as pedestrian safety being the concern of the city: the poster is correct, the city is largely in charge of this. But what the poster fails to recognize is the working relationship between SGA and the city. There have been many changes that the City has made because of SGA's request (the changes at the Mama G's intersection being one of them). This issue is a perfect one for SGA to focus on. SGA is the representation of the students, not just to the Board of Trustees and administration, but also to the city. It makes sense that its primary concern would be the safety of the students. It already works with the University to insure that the campus has the proper lighting, that there are substantial security polls and that the landscaping does not create dangerous areas on campus.

The card swipe access to buildings is another great idea. One has to realize that not all Auburn students have the assumed resources. They do not all have computers and other technologies that are required for them to complete their school work. If someone wants to steal something from one of the buildings, it is not difficult to get into any of the buildings. Having the buildings available to students of their respective majors will not create any substantial increase in "trouble."

The platform point of awareness of the arena is much more than it seems. Auburn's basketball team has been ranked the worst in the SEC. It has poor recruiting, primarily because of poor fan support. This initiative to gain recognition of the new Arena is meant to increase fan support. Basketball can be an aspect that bring money into the University as football does. The money is already being spent on the basketball team, it makes sense that we would make that investment work for us. On top of that, there is the aspect of campus life, that a better basketball team, would make more enjoyable.

Raising awareness of the Gubernatorial Debates is not just a one time event. It is establishing Auburn as a venue. Watching the Presidential Debates, you saw many of them at Universities; Aubrn's name was not in the running. This is because we have not hosted such events. Having debates at Auburn makes the candidates have to address the concerns of the University and its students. This is more than just hosting a debate, is is forcing the politicians to take notice of our University, which will hopefully aid Auburn in the future. I think that the learning opportunity that this provides is also underestimated.

The people I know that voted read the platforms and made their decisions based upon them. Furthermore, having been involved in SGA with these candidates, there is no way to express the amount of work that Kurt Sasser put forth in SGA. This is not to make a comment on the contributions of the other two candidates, as they also made substantial contributions. But Auburn is Kurt Sasser's passion and he put everything he had into the positions in which he served.

Kurt Sasser will do a fantastic job. I realize that Brad Cink also had a great platform, and I have no doubt that his platform points will be implemented and that he will play an essential role in the upcoming Executive Board.

WAR EAGLE
UpsetAboutElections
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February 23, 2010
I am really upset about this year's election. While I am sure Kurt Sasser is a great guy and has done many things for the Auburn Spirit/Athletic Departments, his platform was terrible. So now I am sending a message to the student body. If you asked a group of students if they actually knew about the platform they voted for, many would say they did not. It's as simple as turning on the TV to EagleEye, going to the actual debate, or looking up the platforms online. I hate that people jump on this bandwagon of what their friends choose or even their sorority/fraternity. READ THE PLATFORMS, VOTE FOR THE BEST ONE. That is how the wrong people end up in the wrong positions. I can't wait until a year from now when nothing has been done for Auburn because Kurt's platform will not better the Plains in anyway.

So let's break it down...

Student center 24 hours? Having lived in the Quad, it would've been nice...but only if I lived in the Quad. The closest mass parking is the stadium parking deck which would require security/lighting between the deck and center. $$$. The electricity in the Student Center? Big money. Paying people to work the Student Center during those extra hours? Money. This has lots of money written all over it. And what would it really do? The library is already open 24 hours, with a parking deck immediately next to it. Why would I choose the Student Center over the library? The library does get crowded, but after 12 midnight (when the Student Center closes) is it really that bad? And this would be an ongoing cost, because it would have to be kept open 24 hours...all the time.

Pedestrian Safety- while I do agree with more lights and the safety of everyone, is this really in the SGA's hands? The City of Auburn should be taking care of this.

Card Swipe- this is already implemented in the College of Engineering. Do we really want 24,000 people to have access to Auburn's technology, resources, etc. 24/7. It's just asking for trouble.

Aware of the Resources and Benefits of the Arena? This is by far the worst part of this platform. This information could be done in a simple email or posters around campus. And it will only benefit the students who it will be new to. So after the Arena is a year old, what is this going to do?

SGA sponsored gubernatorial debate. I do think students need to know about this election. These are changing times, and the person elected will be in office many years. But promoting higher education? Once again, this is will not be an ongoing thing, as it will end on Election Day in November.

See what happens when you do your homework on the election? Which is why I advise you, Auburn student body, to vote for the platforms.