Almost every level of government is criticized for inefficiencies that prevent it from working effectively. In order to solve these inefficiencies, governments must consider their own organizational structures. We respect all of the accomplishments of both the Student Assembly senate and the Undergraduate Council. Nevertheless, the bodies must evaluate their own performances and determine if they can better serve the needs of the student body at the College of William and Mary. We support the proposal to merge the senate and the Undergraduate Council because we believe that together these groups will be stronger and able to work most effectively for this campus.
As students at the College, we want the elected members of student government to be the most competitive candidates. These are the candidates who try to reach out to the entire student body in order to be responsive to all students’ needs. With the current state of elections for student government positions, upperclassmen are lucky if they can even fill all of the spots on the ballots. By combining the two groups, we hope campaigns will become more competitive so that students wishing to run for senate will be encouraged to develop more detailed plans and goals for their positions. Hopefully, student election turnout will increase because students will be familiar with the candidates running for elected offices and will be able to make informed decisions instead of simply selecting the first name on the ballot.
Because competitive elections would screen students first, senators would probably become more invested in their positions. In past years, the senate has had trouble simply getting senators to show up. Once they have proven that they are truly dedicated to the positions during the election, it stands to reason that elected students will continue that commitment to their positions.
Similarly, this new structure ensures that the class president will be dedicated to serving the student body. Instead of running for this impressive title, all students will run for the chance to serve their peers in any way possible. The goal is that the student who shows the greatest desire to serve the student body at the College will garner the most votes and be elected class president.
This structural reorganization will better serve the interests of the student body. If past election turnout for these positions is any indicator, a large portion of the student body is apathetic about student government. Consolidation is the best approach to serve the needs of a student body that may be uneducated about the roles of each of these organizations.
We approve of the innovative proposal to merge the SA senate and the Undergraduate Council because the combined group will be able to yield a more significant impact. Neither the senate nor the Undergraduate Council should feel as though this merger is a punishment; rather, the merger is about critically examining the structural organization of student government to make certain it is meeting the needs of the student body.