North Texas Daily

In UNT SGA election, the ‘Daily’ recommends an ideological shift

In UNT SGA election, the ‘Daily’ recommends an ideological shift

In UNT SGA election, the ‘Daily’ recommends an ideological shift
April 06
15:53 2020

If you ask UNT students what they know about their Student Government Association, it’s likely you won’t get many thorough or enlightening answers. For an organization designed to aggregate and amplify student voices at a school of almost 40,000, SGA has often failed at drawing enough participation from its members and the overall student population to maintain a meaningful place among our student organizations. 

Think about SGA for a moment. Have you voted in any of its elections? Have you read any of its small collection of passed legislation? Do you recognize any of its leaders? Has it been beneficial to you as a student during your time at UNT?

Chances are, statistically speaking, you can’t confidently answer any of these questions. Only 1,265 students voted in the last SGA presidential election — 3.6 percent of the total student population. 

The SGA Senate passed a total of eight pieces of legislation during the fall semester, some of which recommended worthwhile initiatives like promoting gender inclusivity, but many did nothing after leaving the Senate floor.   

The Senate also faced glaring attendance issues, which prevented the body from reaching a quorum and moving forward with recent meetings. Weekly senate meetings saw empty seats from senators, missing executive members and a stark lack of outside student participation.

So this next year could be different, right? Could a new president and vice president inspire a more effective SGA? Possibly.

But first, the organization needs some humility and a new attitude. That’s why the North Texas Daily will not endorse a candidate for SGA leadership, as it historically has.

Instead, we ask for a return to normalcy in our student government — a return to participation, feasible ideas and leaders who can back up their goals with action. 

It’s not like the well-dressed messaging or big ideas of the previous SGA administration were bad for students, but the executive board failed at accomplishing its goals. Last election, UNT students were promised robust plans to increase student wages and greater SGA participation from regular students. Those plans faced major roadblocks from UNT administrators and lackluster student participation. SGA leaders were told their plan to raise wages wasn’t feasible, and a student meeting about the plan gathered almost zero student participation.

Now some SGA presidential candidates are proposing the addition of more SGA positions and intense campus changes with very little organizational momentum to turn ideas to reality. 

How could we expect an organization that cannot get all of its members in one room to increase operations and do better? 

Students also need to do better when it comes to SGA. There needs to be proper participation during SGA events and there needs to be an actual turnout during voting when deciding on who will be the next president and vice president. Without student participation in voting and SGA events, there is a disconnect between the two groups when there should be a major coming together of the two.

We may not know everything going on behind the scenes, but as a student body we should all have an SGA board that mines student productivity, encourages students by passing worthwhile, consistent legislation and most importantly, keeps the student body as the main priority. Here is to hoping new changes will make it all feasible and worthwhile.

SGA elections opened Monday, April 6 and will close Thursday, April 9. Results will be announced Friday, April 10. Voting can be found here, using your EUID and password.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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