SGA should stand up for students

It is no secret that the past few weeks have been trying times for the university.

In the wake of a strong armed robbery, an alleged rape in the parking deck and threats to the math department, students seem to feel a disconnect between the university’s administration and themselves, as they are taking to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to voice their concerns.

And if students feel like they can’t look to the administration for information and guidance, where then will they look?

As a student, my logical thought is to look to other students, namely those in positions of power on campus — the Student Government Association.

This is a perfect opportunity for SGA to step up and be the leadership students feel confident looking toward, yet I see only one or two individuals who are part of the organization taking advantage of it.

The SGA Constitution states that members will defend and protect the rights and responsibilities of both the university to the students and of the students to the university, but in the aftermath of the aforementioned crimes are they doing either?

I wrote an article last week about student concerns on safety and security at UNA. I spoke to SGA President Will Riley and asked if they would be doing anything to help make the campus feel safer for students. His response was dismal, saying it was something they want to pursue, but haven’t really discussed yet.

I attended the Oct. 11 SGA Senate meeting, where student safety and security weren’t heavily discussed. In fact, the only time it was mentioned, Senator Mary-Francis Wilson said that last year a suggestion was made for putting extra money in the budget toward the purchase of cameras for the parking deck, but other members of SGA said it wasn’t their responsibility to contribute to such measures of security.

I will admit the student turnout was less than desirable last week for the open forums on safety and security. I’m disappointed in both students and SGA members for not taking an hour out of their week to go to one of the four forums.

And call me crazy, but I think at least discussing student safety, not to mention doing what you can to contribute to student safety, would be a number one priority for members elected by the student body to represent the students.

But what is SGA worth if they aren’t representing the legitimate concerns of the students that put them there in the first place? SGA is supposed to be the strongest advocate for the student body, right?

I’m not discounting the work done by SGA by any means. My intention is not to attack or undermine the organization. It would seem, though, that SGA has lost some of its relevance with the student body, as evidenced by low voter turnouts in last spring’s election and empty senate seats within the organization.

So, SGA, if you want to really make a difference on this campus — like I wholeheartedly believe you want to — make students care about you and what you’re doing by representing them.

Prove that you care about their concerns and make yourself important to the student body again.