WSGA internal battles are petty

ReAnne Utemark

It seems as if there is trouble rumbling through the Washburn Student Government Association. As an outsider, one has to wonder what all the fuss is about.

It could be the outdoor stage.

It could be the bungled situation of the outdoor stage.

It could also be a select group of people who are upset about the outcome of an election and are taking some kind of sick pleasure in seeing the chaos that has engulfed WSGA.

While as the Editor of the Washburn Review, I cannot criticize the other student organizations about chaos. We have had our share of screw-ups, malfunctions, misunderstandings, poor judgments and so on. All of the offices in the lower level of Memorial Union are students trying to be leaders. They are taking chances and seeing what happens. We are learning, we are growing and sometimes, we screw up.

A few years ago, the Washburn Review had a problem with plagiarism, since then, we have worked hard to try and remedy that and inform the rest of the campus about the vast amount of plagiarism that occurs on a college campus.

However, the immaturity present in some of the members of WSGA astounds me. I understand and support the criticism of any deserving administration. As a member of student press, it would be undemocratic and unethical for me to support simply staying quiet and voting “yes” for anything that comes along. This is what WSGA has been for the last three years, for the most part. This year, it has gone the opposite direction – it descended into a select few senators who seem to have taken it upon themselves to avenge something.

I thought Vince and Lacey did a good job – they raised a massive amount of food to feed the hungry during Can Emporia and the Ishmael Beah speech was fantastic. I was looking forward to seeing Whitney and Amy support their campaign promises and continue the lecture series.

This has been overshadowed by petty politics in a student government.

This has also been overshadowed by lower enrollment and, subsequently, lower student activity fee money. What should be important is making the most of student money for students. It should be thinking about what the best way to do this – not necessarily complaining because nothing is happening. Also, perhaps $20,000 of student money could be spent better in light of the current economic situation, rather than to a stage that will take years to complete and current students will not be able to enjoy. There is no money anywhere in the University. Where do advocates of the outdoor stage propose to get money in an environment that is not conducive to hiring faculty, much less a project as superficial as this. This is about serving the best interests of students. Check your personal agendas and your loyalties to anything but the greater good at the door – or stop serving.

Perhaps there should be more open discussion before the meeting explodes like it did last Wednesday.

It is issues and events like these that undermine the credibility of WSGA. I appreciate those students who serve on the Senate. These students care about Washburn, I think. Anyone who participates in student organizations cares about Washburn and the world in which it resides. The decisions of this senate will guide the rest of this year, what kind of decisions will they make? Will they be students serving students or will they be students who cannot criticize their leaders in a civilized fashion?

Please criticize in a constructive manner, not attack the government – particularly not in the name of the students.