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Restoring the Student Voice

By Justin T. Snyder
On March 30, 2009

From the selection of Wendy Libby as Stetson's first woman President, to the physical changes we've seen on campus, the 125th anniversary of our university has certainly been a year of transformation. Now, another transformation is in the works for Stetson, as SGA has their elections for vice-president in the coming weeks. While SGAs reputation for appearing seemingly inactive or possessing a dormant voice, their upcoming elections present an opportunity for the students to transform those false-assumptions by selection candidates that will return the student voice Stetson's governance.

Over the past couple of years, decisions made by the Stetson administration have not been in the interest of the students. From the steady decline of parking spaces on campus, to the removal of trash receptacles in residence halls, to the steady increase of tuition, the Stetson administration has forgotten whom actually hold the future of the university in their hands- us, the students. Without the students, Stetson would not have the great accolades that it boasts. Unfortunately, that simple concept has long since been forgotten amongst our student body. Our student governance needs to have strong leadership that grasps that concept whole-heartedly and without hesitation.

SGA should be an organization with the mission statement to not only represent the student interest, but provide a strong voice to the administration about what that student interest really is. Over past few years, the leadership in SGA has forgotten about the latter part of that mission statement. They have allowed for the role of the student's voice to be further diminished to the point where it is not even considered any more. Tuition rates and expenditures have continued to rise while services for students and retention rates have continued to fall without any outcry from the students or SGA.

But don't fret, this year there is hope for us. We need to become more active in SGA so we can make sure the administration considers the interest of the students. Akeel St. John and Derek Jasante provide the student leadership that we need to lead the push for reform that is in interest of the student body. These upperclassmen have been in SGA have seen the problems first hand and know exactly how to fix them. For far too long has our leadership provided an opportunity for the administration to continually diminish our voice with ease. It is time for the students to send people to lead the fight to restore our voice and push meaningful SGA legislation that goes further than clamshells or tennis lights. Akeel and Derek know who we are and what we stand for. This is our campus, and our voices need to be heard, not silenced and these individuals will provide us the spark to ignite our voices once again. Your campus, your voice, your choice: Akeel and Derek for SGA.

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