Beyond HomecomingThursday, May 31, 2012 By David Gonzlez and Mitchell Mosheim
Before you vote, you should consider the following about the function and structure of student government: We all know the stu- dent government exists, but most of us don’t even know who represents us, or what exactly the student government does. For such a po- tentially pivotal role in the community, why does the community lack communication and faith in this unarguably flawed system? The structure of our government is not the problem. The President, VP, Trea- surer, Secretary and Representative model has traditionally been a success. The gaping holes in the system are due to the mentality of the students at our school. When deciding what office to run for, candidate’s sets of abilities are the last thing on their mind. Instead of trying to help the school as much as possible, they go for the office they can be elected to with the most ease or the one with the most prestige to pad their college resume with lead- ership roles. The majority of the student body does not even know what their reps do; they are supposed to represent your class’ interest in the student government. The ideal student government would actively take part in collecting public opinion and try to change the course of our school voicing the opinion of the meekly represented stu- dent body. Representatives would constantly be making rounds in advisories and keeping their fingers on the pulse of community. They would not be blatantly oblivious to a single issue. Needless to say, this is not how ours works. The student body clearly has either a negative view of their representatives or complete ignorance of the actual function. “I know they are associated with Homecoming, but I’m not exactly sure what they do,” says Junior, Jenna Lily. She adds a controversial note, “I look to elect someone with leadership experience.” Why is such an innocent state- ment controversial? This introduces an idea known as the career politician theory. The only way to get experience is to be previously elected, so if someone is elected, once he is in the “inner circle” he will continue to be elected and will not be able to be uprooted. As a result, there is no incentive to actually do or change anything. According to the head of the student govern- ment, Ms. Kelly, her organization doesn’t, “[do] enough really –that is the problem with student government in our school.” What brings us even further from the epitome is the system of having everybody in the student government in the same advisory. This is convenient for the government, “let’s say Mr. Cahill needs to contact us about technology, he knows where to contact us every day,” says Ms. Kelly, but there are some negative rami- fications of this system. Advisory is undoubt- edly the time where students complain the most about what is happening on the school campus. How can they truly keep an eye on the school if they are not witnessing the birth of complaints? Although they do pick up on some things during classes, the focus of classes are to learn and sometimes it seems like the focus of advisory is to complain. There will be changes to this system next year. Ms. Kelly would love for the next year student government to be more com- mitted to the student government cause. To implement this she plans to (hopefully) tweak the requirements for being in student govern- ment in a way that would require members to back out of leadership positions in other clubs. “I wish students in student government were more committed, like The Spartacus staff is committed to journalism.” Ms. Kelly’s pipe dream is that students in the government will abstain from Homecoming competitions to help out during the hectic week. The ju- niors, who are inheriting the school next year, also undoubtedly have big plans to reform the system too. An anonymous student lacks trust in the sys- tem, “It’s absolutely ridiculous. In my career here as a student I have not seen someone from student government keep one of their promises.” The student has a point; the May 8 meeting about changing assemblies featured a breathtaking students interested in run- ning for office, while Mrs. Kelly’s room was filled wall-to-wall with students who suppos- edly want to make a difference uncontrolla- bly chattering and worrying about the grade requirements. Even though they claim to want to make a difference, their lack of presence at such meetings suggests otherwise. Is there improvement in the future for the student government? It is entirely in your hands.