The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Student Senate

Working hard at hardly working

It would be hard to criticize this semester’s Student Senate achievements. Mainly because there haven’t been many.

Despite the fact that student body President Dustin Odham ran on a platform of improving the campus parking situation, increasing funding for student organizations and renovating the Dedman Center, very little movement has occurred regarding any of these issues. And even though many Senate candidates made a great deal of noise last spring about improving minority recruitment, the diversity chair was the last major Senate spot to be filled.

Instead, the Senate has spent this semester rolling out commendations for Eddie Hull and the folks who got Pony Express to finally work at off-campus locations and bills memorializing friends of the University who have died.

Not that the contributions of these folks are unimportant, but these are not the issues the Senate was elected to deal with. They’re not even issues at all, but easy-to-pass fluff that makes an inactive Senate seem rather busy.

On a campus where parking has become an unmanageable problem, where cars are being stolen out of lots, where our academic prestige is no longer what it once was, and our minority retention rates look like the punchline to a bad joke, surely there are better things for the Student Senate to be working on than the legislative equivalent of laying a wreath by a tombstone.

Which is not to say the Senate has done nothing of value. It has considered the condition of Binkley Avenue and established the ad-hoc committee for disabilities issues, but that’s very little to show for half a semester’s worth of efforts.

And then there’s the first-year vote scandal, the Senate’s response to which has highlighted the need for comprehensive election reforms – an issue the Senate appears unwilling to consider, but more than willing to obscure.

Some would have you believe that the Senate has not traditionally released vote totals for their elections. But that is untrue. A quick scan through the last 15 years’ worth of The Daily Campus shows that vote counts for Senator and officer elections have historically been made public.

It is only in the past three years that the Senate has decided that the average student at SMU doesn’t deserve to know the official election results.

Odham and his team need to turn their attention to the issues they were elected to grapple with, and something needs to be done to open up the elections process.

Vote totals for all elections should be made public from here on out – in fact a bill should be passed requiring the Senate to release these counts when they announce winners. The minutes of Senate meetings should be made easily available on the Senate’s Web site (the portion of the site which claims to host these documents was not working at press time), as should the results of all legislative votes and the status and text of all bills currently being considered by the Senate or its committees.

The students of SMU deserve better leadership than the Senate is currently providing. Students deserve action to address the real issues facing the campus such as parking, minority retention and election problems – not further inaction from a body that seems more concerned with lionizing those who have passed on than it is serving those who are still here.

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