USG claims to represent the student body, but does it represent you?

Guest Columnist and Guest Columnist

As Minority Affairs Senator in USG I am fully aware of the necessity of starting construction for the Stroh Center. I am not anti-athletics, nor am I anti-commencement; neither am I against possible concerts. I am for all of it. I am for the idea of having a Stroh Center. However as a senator I disagree with the fact that it is a primary need for the University and because of this I voted against it. Yet, I understand that this current issue has been tackled and USG senators voted in how they believe their constituents wanted them to vote. My point has more to do with the dialogue that took place during the heated debate. If I may paraphrase, representatives verbally hinted students couldn’t or shouldn’t voice their own opinions via referendum because there have been countless discussions concerning the topic, or that students were apathetic concerning the issues. It wasn’t their fault that in a random survey, a majority of students did not know what the Stroh Center was. Other arguments were: I’m graduating so it won’t really affect me and I had to help pay off the Union and Rec Center or (my personal favorite) students don’t love the University if they aren’t in support of the Stroh Center. These excuses are laughable and students should take note and heed to what elected and appointed representatives of USG think of them. These are the people who represent you. The word democracy was thrown around countless times and it seems to me we have forgotten what it means. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the definition of democracy states it is government by the people or a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. Where is democracy? Of the 21 senators who voted last night (14 yes, 5 no, 2 abstain), can you truly say your student government is a reflection of your values, beliefs and diversity? The Stroh Center issue is over and done. It will be built and after 2011 students will be paying $60 per semester to pay off the debt. But let’s not beat a dead horse. My plea to the student body is take note of what USG is. Do you like it? Do you think people are only electing and appointing their friends? Do you think people join USG for a r’eacute;sume builder or recommendation letter? Does USG represent you, and if not, what are you doing to fix it? Those who know me would say I can be extremely passionate, un-diplomatic, blunt, and dedicated to the people I represent. As an alumnus in August 2009, I’ll be fighting even harder. As we can see, alumni and donors have power. So vote in the upcoming USG election or better yet, run for a USG Position. Be the change you wish to see, because resolutions will continue to be passed whether or not you show up. –Starmisha Conyers-Page is a senior majoring in Liberal Studies.