For some students, SGA is an afterthought, something that only comes up when you get bombarded on the concourse from campaigns urging you to vote. In actuality, SGA provides students with an opportunity to fundamentally change the university that they attend.
Senators in SGA are a direct pipeline to not only city lawmakers, but state ones as well. The platform that students vote for are taken into serious consideration and can alter experiences at Auburn for years to come. To be appointed or elected is one of the highest honors a student can receive because of the duty and responsibility attached to it.
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the current senators failed to live up to that responsibility.
During this meeting, officials were supposed to be voting on a proposed amendment to the constitution.
If passed, this amendment would have increased the number of Senate seats from 34 to 44. The goal was to increase student involvement by giving these 10 seats to representatives from major groups on campus.
This would have included Greek, religious and spiritual, sports and recreational, Student Activity Organizations and cultural groups.
Currently, Auburn has a senator to student ratio of 896 to 1, according to the Office of Institutional Research. This is one of the lowest marks in the entire Southeastern Conference.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
Whether this amendment is beneficial or not takes a backseat to what occurred.
To pass an amendment, it must be agreed upon by four-fifths of the Senate. Usually, SGA has 34 senators, but because one changed their major and vacated their seat, they were left with 33.
This meant that a majority would be 26.4 which rounds to 27, according to SGA rules. So, SGA needed at least 27 members out of 33 to vote on the amendment.
The problem is: only 26 members showed up to the meeting.
More representation doesn’t help if the already elected officials can’t carry out their most essential duties.
SGA can only amend the constitution twice a year; once during the fall and once during the spring. This blunder delays this vote for another semester, rendering an entire hour and a half of debate useless. For some senators, this was their last chance to pass an amendment before the end of their time in the Senate.
This isn’t how you serve the student body.
How can you represent the best interest of the people who go to Auburn if you are unable to even go through the process of change? Voting on an amendment is one of the most important duties of the job. Being unaware that you don’t have enough senators to vote is irresponsible.
For some students, the proceedings of SGA are a mysterious process, but SGA members should understand them.
Student government is incredibly important. Without SGA, the campus can’t reflect the thoughts of the people who attend the school.
With elections coming up, we should see this as a reason to get involved.
It’s up to us to research candidates’ platforms and vote for the ones that align most with what we believe. That’s how we make sure they continue to fight for the student body.
On Jan. 22, the senators who were supposed to represent the student body — who were entrusted with the responsibility of fighting for our best interest — failed.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman