To the Editor:
In their attempt to educate the readers of this paper on the upcoming Student Government elections, the editors failed to present a clear and truthful picture of the current state of SG and specifically the roles of those running for office. In previous articles and most recently the editorial titled “Vote Vance”, the editors stated that this year’s Student Government has been ineffective and unproductive, destroying the reputation of years past. The fact is, this year has seen the completion of several projects started by previous administrations, as well as initiating new ones and setting the groundwork for the next administration to complete theirs.
Of the twenty individuals vying for the three executive offices, eleven have experience in Student Government. Five of them have held positions in SG previous to the Spring 2003 elections. Billy Bludgus, Chris Clark, Peter Groverman, Justice Walker, and Carlos Echeverri all had their hands in making improvements over the last three administrations. In fact, Walker and Echeverri were each awarded the Outstanding Senator Award for their work for the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 years respectively. The accomplishments made by Bludgus, Clark, Walker, and Echeverri last year, resulted in them being elected or appointed to this year’s Executive Board along with President Scott Sadowski.
This year has been a great success, despite all that has been reported. Bludgus, as Chief of Staff-External, has been the right hand man to President Sadowski and has taken on many of the initiatives presented in his platform. Bludgus currently heads the Dining Service Advisory Committee and the Library Advisory Board, which he created. He has also created the Hurricane-for-a-day Program, a recruitment program working in conjunction with the Office of Admissions.
Vice President Chris Clark, can be credited with overhauling the Executive Cabinet, which in prior years has been less effective. Clark is also working with Board of Trustee Member Bernie Kosar on off-campus vendor’s Cane Card usage.
Speaker of the Senate Carlos Echeverri and Speaker Pro-Tempore Justice Walker lead the legislative branch of Student Government. Under their guidance, the University has seen a multitude of improvements including a new pathway between the Ungar building and McArthur Engineering, a new registration procedure for Residence Halls, improved drainage throughout campus, and the creation of new laundry facilities in the residential colleges, to name a few. Echeverri has been the vocal leader on the living wage policy for contracted employees. In addition, Walker has revived the Student Health Advisory Committee, and is restructuring it to become an umbrella to all organizations involved with the health professions.
Previous articles have attacked Student Government’s ability to communicate with the students and vise versa. The editors specifically mention the availability of Echeverri. Well, they must have not bothered to venture from their office in search of him. He can usually be found in either the SG office, the International Lounge or the Association for Commuter Students office. Actually, the only person to be in the SG office more often than Echeverri, is the Student Government Secretary Gloria Copper, who would be happy to take a message for him or any other SG member. In addition Echeverri has office hours and his personal cell phone number posted in the SG office.
The previous editorial endorsing the ticket of Senators Vance Aloupis and Minal Ahson, commended them for their previous work and experiences, but failed to accurately depict their roles in SG. The editorial did however report one thing correctly; they can give a voice to the under-represented minority populations on campus. In fact, Ahson’s input is usually only heard when a small organization, particularly those under C.O.I.S.O. (which she is the senator for) comes to Senate for Co-sponsorship. As for Aloupis, his voice can usually be heard informing Senate of his other endeavors, such as Up Till Dawn and the Get Out the Vote Campaign. His enthusiasm might be contagious, but as Governor Howard Dean knows all to well, enthusiasm can only take you so far.
Last Wednesday’s Presidential Debate left no clear-cut winner in the upcoming elections. It only seemed to narrow the field from eight to four; the four with not only drive and desire, but the Student Government experience to get the job done. I advocate to everyone reading this to get accurate information, meet the candidates, and judge each platform for yourself. Don’t vote on empty promises and impossible dreams, but rather clear, well-defined, practicable ideas. As for the editors and writers of this paper, I suggest you learn to research an article before you publish it.
Parliamentarian, Student Government Senate