When I transferred here four years ago, my opinion of Student Government was that it was irrelevant, verging on substantively meaningless. Becoming more familiar with it and its members, I’ve come to see that there are many members of SG who labor tirelessly to make life better for you. In 2004, I ran for SG President, and later for the Senate, and have come to have great respect for the institution. Since moving on to graduate school, I’ve continued my relationship with SG by serving as the official Graduate Student Association liaison. While the overwhelming majority of SG members represent themselves honorably in the capacity of their office, last week I witnessed behavior by one Student Government senator that was-and I’m being very generous here-disgusting.
The University Village project has been beset by a variety of ongoing problems, not the least of which has been the well-publicized placement of UV residents into a number of local hotels. While some of those residents have begun to move in to their apartments and more are soon to follow, the residents of the Holiday Inn will not be joining them until almost November. In addition to that, the parking problems at the Holiday Inn make the idea of parking in Ponce Garage seem serene by comparison. Having lived in the Holiday Inn now since Aug. 1, and rarely ever being able to actually park at the hotel, I can understand why some students would choose to discuss this with the hotel management. While tension is to be expected, nothing excuses what I witnessed the other day.
The individual in question entered the lobby and proceeded to the counter to speak to the night manager. Immediately identifying themself as “the senator for the Holiday Inn,” a position which doesn’t actually exist (in fact, this person also holds an actual Senate seat), this individual began what can only be expressed as a 20 minute tirade on how the policies of the hotel were outrageous and that as an SG senator, immediate action was demanded.
While this person was not quite yelling, they were raising their voice in an inappropriate manner and worst of all, right out in the lobby where passersby could see and hear the entire affair. For his part, the night manager politely and patiently explained to this individual the reasons for the hotel’s policy, and that they were trying to do everything possible to make this process work. The senator in question was not interested, and the rest of this person’s message consisted of the theme, “we’re students and we’re entitled.”
If this were simply a student arguing loudly with the manager in public it would be bad enough. This person however, not only immediately, but continuously identified themself as a senator acting in the capacity of their office. This senator was rude, disrespectful, and acted in a manner completely unbecoming of the office. It was an extremely unflattering reflection of the SG senate and presented the image of an ill-mannered UM student leader to the general public. This senator’s conduct was inexcusable, and made every one of us look like a bunch of spoiled brats.
Scott Wacholtz is a grad student concentrating in Middle Eastern history. He may be contacted at email@example.com.