EDITORIAL: Governments should not shut out the public

At their November 15 meeting, Student Government Association (SGA) closed their meeting while disregarding public protest from The Leader.

SGA should not close meetings to the public. All non-SGA people in the room are asked to leave while SGA deliberates; however, why should this discussion be held outside of the public eye?

In the past, The Leader was allowed to remain in closed discussions regarding club proposals. This allowed The Leader to inform the public about important decisions to the student body.

When the matter of registering clubs arises, the public, which includes the press, should have access to the conversation. These meetings should be open, and the public should able to observe the validity and fairness of SGA’s process.

Various SGA senators and executive board members have boasted about the transparency and accessibility of their meetings, but when the public and the press are barred from observing, this no longer is true.

Under the Illinois Open Meetings Act, all public bodies must hold open meetings, and all government decisions must be made in the open, subject to a few exceptions.

While SGA is not required to follow the Illinois Open Meetings Act, it should consider it because it is still a governmental organization, even though it is at a student level, it makes major decisions on the behalf of students. No government should operate behind closed doors. It bars participation and collaboration of the very people they intend to serve. SGA is supposed to serve student interests, and students deserve to know about the decisions that affect them.