SGA Showdown: Two advocates for total change square off
The “We” Party
During the SGA debate on Feb. 13, Naeem Abdullah seemed to share criticism about the current administration under SGA President Cedric Bandoh. Abdullah believes his party can be the “better administration that will actually do something” and make real change on campus.
He also said the current administration serves as “puppets” for University administrators.
My biggest concern for the “We” Party is that it does not truly advocate the “we” it is named after, because it seems like it is a platform solely for Abdullah’s “me.”
In early February, Abdullah led an unsuccessful attempt to transfer the Urban Experience Program — a program that, in theory, would benefit students, but just didn’t have quantifiable results — to the Division of Community Relations and Institutional Access from the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services.
With little to no proactive campaigning, it seems that the “We” Party serves only as a platform to gain traction with progress in regard to the UEP. I feel that Abdullah’s campaign is self-serving in the sense that the UEP seems to be the motivation in running for student body president.
SGA passed SGAR-50006 to resolve the conflict and tasked the Student Life Committee chair to conduct a monthly follow-up for the remainder of Fiscal Year 15 with staff and members of the UEP to evaluate the administration’s effort in improving the collaborative endeavor. Amendments to resolution SGAR-50006 brought by Abdullah were denied by the Senate.
UEP’s attempted transfer came as a result of students who felt that administrators were being ineffective and denounced any evidence in support of the program’s effectiveness. UEP was told to provide more solid data to retain future funding.
“Administrators have an elitist-type attitude. We will not bow down to the administration,” Abdullah said. “We will walk cohesively with them.”
A party with good intentions is not enough to warrant votes from students. The unhealthy relationship with University administrators does not help either.
Elitism seems to be an underlying characteristic of SGA — it might just be the nature of government — and it doesn’t seem like the “We” Party has the means to work around that.
Disgruntled with the current state of SGA, Shane Smith looks to bring the organization back to the basics. Smith intends to change the state of mind of the Senate because he believes it does not serve the students and that it operates on its own agenda.
Smith, a freshman, believes this is an opportunity for students to bring in new breath to SGA and instill pride for the organization. If Smith became SGA president, there’s the opportunity for a consistent leadership and ongoing change with the organization and the campus.
Smith hopes to seek the return of regular town hall meetings with senators and their constituents — an event that doesn’t happen anymore.
“The senators are not working for the students,” Smith said.
SGA’s bylaws require these meetings to happen. It is doubtful that there will be a satisfying turnout of students at these town hall meetings. It boils down to individual senators persuading students to come to these meetings. It’s a task much more difficult than it sounds.
With youth comes naiveté, causing one to wonder whether Smith has enough experience to lead SGA as president. His role within the organization was relatively short-lived and limited.
It’s a trade-off students may be willing to make: bring in a young contender with the chance to make long-term change and initiatives, even though the results might not be immediate.
Cougar Pawlitics may not have the strongest foothold in campaigning, but with a solid platform and an angle toward on-campus students, this party stands as a strong contender in the ring. It seems like students might want to take that chance. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations junior and may be reached at [email protected]