September 23, 2010 Volume CXXVIII Issue 3

Does the Whale’s Magnitude Diminish?

Back Page Editor

The Moby Dick reference is not really relevant but the picture of the whale is sweet. So the connection was forcefully made. After the induction of a new SGA president the student body is left to wonder if the quest for SGA’s legitimacy is any more likely to produce results than searching for a giant white whale destroying cars on East Campus. To be fair, it is not the fault of the current members of SGA that their positions are essentially irrelevant in the hierarchy of Georgetown College politics. The lack of legitimacy starts with the fact that student participation in voting for SGA was laughable. If you voted for any of the current members, pat yourself on the back, and good luck finding the other fifteen people who can say they voted as well.

SGA ought to be made up of elected officials and not merely of students who ran without any real opposition. It is impossible for the student body to claim it wants a legitimate SGA if the student body refuses to legitimize the election of officials. The lack of voting is indicative of the general disconnect between SGA and student body. Having SGA comprised of all women is certainly a good thing for women in politics; having SGA comprised of all women from two sororities is not a good thing for us. If SGA were legitimate, it would have properly elected officials representing the student body as a whole. This responsibility does not fall on SGA members but rather the entire student body for failing to participate.

Pointing fingers everywhere does not really solve the SGA problem because, well, there is no real problem. SGA is irrelevant. At colleges where SGA is a legitimate political body, an SGA can influence real policy change (example: restructuring of the alcohol policy at William-Jewell College in Kansas) by having real brokering power with the college President, Trustees and Faculty. Our SGA is at times difficult to distinguish from GAC and it is nearly impossible for the average student to say what SGA actually does. If the power in legislation rests with Trustees and the President first, SGA is close to dead last, narrowly beating out the garbage can in the mini-quad on South Campus. It would be nice if the student body was truly and thoroughly represented by members of a council who could actually do something.

Ideally, SGA would have power enough to play on the level of the high and mighty Student Life office. But, dressing nice and announcing speakers at campus events does not really count for anything. This is not a call for a drastic measure against current policy but rather a description of our current state of affairs.

Students in fraternities and sororities have it a bit better off. Greek life is loud on campus and each organization has a national governing body backing its interests. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the student body, independents and independent athletes, have no real voice through SGA.

Simply put, there is not really a system of checks and balances operating in campus politics. Change only happens when those with power allow it; student interests are far from primary or secondary on the list. If you get on and research documented SGA activity you will find something looking a lot like a list of maintenance requests lost by the grounds crew. SGA is utterly purposeless and it is largely our fault. But to ever hope for legitimacy some power will have to be given to SGA by those who currently hold it.

Accurately identifying SGA’s irrelevance is hardly productive because it is such common knowledge. What could be productive are steps by the student body, President, TG and others to start the process of legitimizing SGA. The first step would have to look something like a caucus (or five) in the Chapel (CEP credit please), with ordered dialogue between students and administration determining what it is SGA should be actually capable of doing. But for it to be effective the ENTIRE student body would need to participate. At this point that may be a bit much to ask.

This Weeks Beverage Recommendation is Shlafly’s Pumpkin Ale. It is unbelievable if you find yourself wanting something a bit more seasonal this fall.

Editor’s Note: The reference to policy change at Willaim-Jewell is a product of familiarity with the students involved. Our alcohol policy is not necessarily the first thing that needs to be addressed.

To insure the greatest efficiency in the dart, the harpooners of this world must start to their feet from out of ildeness, and not from out of toil.– Herman Melville

disclaimer: the contents of the back page are not necessarily true

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