North Texas Daily

Letter to SGA: #MakeUNTGreatAgain

Letter to SGA: #MakeUNTGreatAgain

March 03
00:26 2016

The Editorial Board

For the average student reading this, we’d like to offer up a question: Do you have any idea who the Student Government Association senator is that represents your college?

We sure didn’t, which is slightly unsettling, as we are located inside the Mayborn School of Journalism. Austin Bordeau, if you’re reading this, we’d love for you to come by and introduce yourself.

At 3:46 a.m. Tuesday, student body president Adam Alattry sent out an email to the student body, urging those interested to apply to be an SGA senator, or to run for president or vice president. This, piggy-backed on the fact that the organization just changed its bylaws regarding GPA, is understandable but slightly confusing.

Yes, Alattry here is seeking to invite more outsiders to join. But, no, this is not a move to benefit the student body. It’s all fine and well to invite students to the SGA echo chamber, but what about actually getting stuff done?

In his Q&A with the Daily last April, Alattry discussed his vision for his coming term, talking about how he’d like to “externalize SGA” for the student body and make people more aware of the role they play in electing those who represent them. He also addressed the problem of internal bickering among representatives.

Twelve days earlier, in a letter written to the editorial board by his own admission, Alattry said: “The reason we are running unopposed is because of students’ apathy in regards to anything concerning student government.”

Nearly a year later and the student body is still plagued by the same problems as last April. In the email sent early Tuesday morning, Alattry detailed to insomniac students “things SGA has done in the last decade” — apart from being far too expansive a time frame, it was even more troubling that the list only had five things on it.

Five. In the last decade.

Among these things was the admission of alcohol into Fuzzy’s in the University Union, something that only affects older students and ultimately does nothing to aid students in their search for degrees (not to mention Fry Street is about 200 yards away).

We’d also like to point out that despite passing a “Smoke-Free UNT” resolution, people still smoke on campus, the voter turnout to build the Union was embarrassingly low and Apogee has been noticeably “filled” perhaps a handful of times since former coach Dan McCarney’s era with North Texas Football began (and ended).

Our overlying point is that, despite passing legislation designed to bring more people into the SGA process, the organization is largely misunderstanding which issues need to truly be addressed, such as making the organization and its proceedings more transparent and passing bills that positively affect the student body, rather than the process of joining for those interested. 

We have no doubt your hearts are in the right place; we just question the motivations behind your objectives.

Featured Image: Samuel Wiggins | Senior Staff Illustrator

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1 Comment

  1. Tiff
    Tiff March 03, 16:34

    Hello,

    My name is Tiffany, and I am an SGA Senator for the College of Arts and Sciences. =)

    I was inducted mid-semester Fall 2015, and since then I have actively striven to reach out to students and faculty alike. Speaking for myself, I care deeply about our university and my UNT family. To give a little background, when I was 15, my family fell apart and I was sent to live with unknown relatives more than 250 miles away from my home, with no contact with my family, friends, or even my dog. That being said, from the time I was 15 until I was 19, I felt dead inside; I felt like I had no home anymore. That changed when I came to this university. In October 2013, my first semester at UNT, I felt like I had a home again….I felt like I had a family in the the people I grew to know and love at UNT.

    For years, I heard about problems students had here, and everything I heard deeply bothered me. Spring 2015, I decided to do something about it, I decided to give back to my family. Thus it was that I joined the SGA House of Representatives, representing the UNT Fencing Club. When the House of Representatives was disbanded in Fall 2015, I did not give up, but applied to be a senator.

    Since becoming a senator, I have actively striven to reach out to students each and every day. I am doing everything within my power to reach out to students and inform them about opportunities that arise (scholarships, events, et cetera), as well as reach out to them about changes they would like to see on the campus. Currently, I am working on resolutions that would see the UNT Language Building remodeled (did you know it hasn’t been majorly renovated since 1967–when it was built?), the first ever UNT Academic Success Center created (we are one of the only major universities that does not have one), a research database created for students use (ask anyone who has tried to do research at UNT…it’s not exactly heavenly in terms of ease), the Texas Fashion Collection building created (they currently have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stuff in a temporary building), fencing equipment termed sporting equipment instead of weaponry in housing (major problem for freshman and those living in dorms, who also fence), and scholarship seminars/workshops created (because nobody should have to worry about paying for school when they are struggling just to make sure they have enough to live on). I have also been approached by a forensic student to look into hosting a seminar on how to prevent and deal with stalking, but that will come a few weeks down the road.

    I am telling you all of this not to belittle the concerns outlined in your editorial, but to show you that I am listening and that I acknowledge your concerns; UNT is my home, and I care about what goes on here. Thank you for taking the time to write about and document what occurs at our university–you are appreciated.

    My office hour is every Friday, from 1-2PM, in the SGA office on the third floor in the Union, and my e-mail is open to those unable to visit in person. I will always be happy to meet with anyone who has questions, comments, or concerns.

    Respectfully,

    Tiffany E. Miller
    SGA Senator
    College of Arts and Sciences

    Reply to this comment

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