Student Democratic Process Lacks Enthusiasm
With the spring semester winding down, the Student Government Association (SGA) held its annual elections. While the customary congratulations to the newly elected student representatives are in order, only four percent of WCC’s 13,000 students voted in the election. In short, the SGA elections are far from representative of the student body.
This is to say nothing critical of the candidates, who undoubtedly put forth their utmost effort in campaigning and—in the case of the presidential candidates—debating. Nor is it an indictment of the SGA elections themselves, which can be easily accessed via MyWCC.
Rather, it is an appeal to the students of WCC to assume a larger role in a governing body that affects them more directly than most others in their lives.
It is easy to dismiss the SGA as a student organization that does nothing but bolster the resumes of the bookish types who go for that sort of thing, but one would be wrong in doing so. While condemning our student representatives as ineffective bureaucrats-in-training is satisfying, it could not be further from the truth.
The fact is that, as WCC students, one would be hard pressed to find an organization—governmental or otherwise—that affects their daily lives more frequently than the SGA.
Take, for instance, the dozens of clubs on campus. From those celebrating the unique wonder of Peruvian culture, to those wishing to learn more about the intricacies of the criminal justice system, to those who like accounting, each club is funded directly at the start of each semester by the SGA. With a semester’s worth of events and activities at stake, one would expect involved students to take more of an interest in determining who distributes their funds.
It is disheartening, then, that of all the club members who enthusiastically fill the gym at the start of each semester to reach out to incoming students, few of them took the time to fill out the ballot on their MyWCC portal.
Clubs and organizations aside, a large amount of WCC students commute to school via a public transportation system that often seems to be lacking in availability. Taking note of this problem, former SGA President Henry Gulergun established the SGA’s Transportation Committee, which continues to operate in the interest of these students.
The committee has worked alongside the Bee Line bus system to add routes and extend hours of service to students who have no other means of transportation. The committee has also made strides to improve the safety of those students walking along any of WCC’s entrance roads which lack sidewalks.
The SGA regularly passes resolutions in the same vein—attempting to help students where they need it most—such as urging the administration to declare WCC a sanctuary campus for undocumented students, or expanding the smoking ban to include electronic cigarettes.
This is not an endorsement or a puff piece about the good the SGA does.
If that last resolution banning vaping, or any of the SGA’s actions, is something you disagree with, then in all probability you have done nothing to stop it. If they are things you support and would like to see more of then, similarly, you have probably not done much to ensure that they keep happening.
In short, much ado is made about national elections. But ask yourself how the 2016 elections have affected you thus far. Odds are your life hasn’t changed much since November 2016.
The SGA elections affect WCC students’ lives in more direct ways, yet out of 13,000 students only 556 voted. A governing body needs the participation of the governed to be most effective, and it is here where WCC’s students fail.