Forum

Sabram and Louissaint lack productivity, communication

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Government in any form is, and will remain, government. On a college campus, though, the governing body must exist in a useful form, starting from the top down. Lately, we?ve seen a downward trend in the executive offices of student government, and it?s time for a change.

During my time at Carnegie Mellon, I?ve have begun to realize that our student government has become so self-involved and overly complex that it is impossible for the average non-governmental student to understand. Over the past few months I?ve received multiple e-mails from students asking for help in trying to learn about the governmental process. Strangely enough, aside from running for Student Body President, I?ve never been a member of any form of student government.

My intent here is in no way to attack Student Senate. Recently, they?ve been working on much reform, and have been trying to make the government process as simple as possible for students to understand and participate in. For this I commend them.

What I am extremely concerned about stems from last year?s Student Body Presidential elections.

Last year, the term ?diversity? became the hot-button topic. Every speech, every meeting, and every campaign platform used it as a fundamental starting point. To some of us, though, the notion of ?diversity? was more than just a starting place for a campaign platform.

Our campus is riddled with issues stemming from a positive excess of ?diversity? obsession, coupled with a negative understanding and appreciation of our differences. To think that this could be easily solved is foolhardy. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of commitment to the issue. Diversity is not simply a race, sex, sexuality, or age issue ? it goes as far as intercollegiate relations, inter-major relations, and inter-organizational issues.

This is the most important issue facing our campus presently. It affects everyone and everything in every facet of our community, and needs to be dealt with in a very serious manner. Given that, I feel it needs to be dealt with by individuals such as the Student Body President.

Let me address our elected officials directly: As President and Vice-President, you are the elected officials charged with dealing with pervasive campus issues and making a conscious effort in keeping our community together in a cohesive, thought-provoking environment. So far, I?ve seen little to none of this. In fact, I?ve seen little to nothing of anything.

Maybe I?m just being naive, but from what I understand of your present endeavors, not much of anything has been accomplished.

If you were the President of our United States, a year of your term would be over. Half a semester ? a quarter of your term ? has passed and, as far as I?m concerned, you have little to show for it.

All that we know of your accomplishments are what you relay to us in a coherent manner. Although you may be getting a litany of things completed within student government, we will never see them, or hear of them, for that matter. Part of being president is striking a balance between intragovernmental issues and public issues. You need to make yourselves more visible, hold public forums, and do things which will make yourself better received to the campus.

More importantly, hold forums to get input on specific issues from the community. Hold an open forum to all students on their feelings about dining and other issues so that you can better understand our feelings towards the issues you are trying to accomplish.

Using The Tartan as a venue to address your community is a start, but not enough. Although publishing a weekly column explaining your accomplishments is necessary and commendable, it is not the only way you should be communicating with your public. I?m sure that WRCT and cmuTV would be more than happy to work something out with their Student Body President.

In addition, if you decide to continue to communicate solely through The Tartan, you need to begin to put more care into your work. Your contributions typically read poorly, and make it appear as if you simply don?t care enough to contribute. Why aren?t you writing this week? Again, this is the only manner in which you choose to contact your students. This, to me, is unacceptable. You have a column to fill and you have a whole week to do it. Not writing is insulting to every student on campus, and does not reflect well upon you.

Please, I beg you: Put more care into your work and let us know what is going on. I?m sure you have the best intentions, but I?ve grown tired of being left in the dark. You need to be public and make more of an effort to take in the opinions of the student body as a whole, not just in secluded groups; speaking to an organization by itself is all fine and good, but you will never fully understand where others? opinions diverge.

When I see these things change, I will write another piece commending you on the changes you have made and efforts you have taken to engage and support the student population. Until then, I look forward to positive changes and a strong effort towards bringing around a closer, more unified student body.