Letter to the editor: Critique Yourself

*Editor’s note: Student Government Association (SGA) president responds to The Leader’s editorial opinions

To the Editors,

As I end my senior year and tenure on Student Government Association, I thought it was necessary to “wield the pen”. So here are my thoughts about, and advice to, this newspaper.

I am humbled that you believe in the prominence of SGA enough to be featuring us at least once a month. I only wish that you would ever choose to consult with our organization before putting out false claims against the very group that supports your existence. I believe that you have motivated writers, and I hope that you use that fervor to be better writers. This means being critical, while being understanding of the barriers that exist for those that you are criticizing. I, at the end of the day, am a student and can only do so much in my position. Moreover, I and those on the board with me are only human—always capable of making errors, learning, and growing.

The Leader’s relationship with SGA, or any Elmhurst College entity, does not have to be so negatively charged. It’s college. Your paper often seeks perfection from everyone besides itself. As the college is growing, we need to be bringing the community together. The Leader’s beratement on a different group or initiative every issue does the opposite.

You have claimed SGA wages wars and cuts budgets (we don’t), that the group is bias in their choices (we aren’t) and closed off to the student body (we constitutionally cannot be). In fact, looking at an article about SGA written by editors just two years ago—March 2016—we have successfully implemented or supported all initiatives listed. Unfortunately, there is rarely ever any recognition that in fact, SGA is working to serve the student body. I hope that your paper attempts to do the same.

Sincerely,

Madiha Ahmed
2018-2019 SGA president

EDITORIAL: Stop complaining and join us

It is time that the critics of The Leader put their money where their mouth is. If anyone has an issue with the content of The Leader, come write for us. If you think we are too liberal or too negative or too biased for some reason, come join our staff.

Time and time again, whether on social media or in formal petitions, the student body has demanded transparency from the school. However, when The Leader does its job and reports information that would otherwise be kept hidden from students, it is met with backlash.

Our staff is small. We would love to cover everything, but we do not have the resources to do so. If you see a deficit, or see a group being misrepresented, you have an opportunity to be the solution by joining us. If you want to let the campus know about something, submit a Letter to Editor or audition for a column, but complaining is not beneficial for any party.

Across the nation the press is under fire, and even the president has declared the press the “enemy of the people.” Many pass judgement on media simply because the content of the stories seem to be negative. But the number one job of the press is to deliver the truth to the public, whether it is seen as good or bad.

Unfortunately, many people do not understand this, and if the story does not agree with them, the press is the one who faces backlash instead when they are simply the messengers.

This national sentiment against the press has even come to our campus with The Leader, which has faced threats of defunding and papers being vandalized and even stolen.

We are not alone, for other colleges have faced backlash as well. Loyola University has passed a policy requiring the campus newspaper to contact the marketing department who then writes all quotes related to university affairs, regardless of the department or position of the subject of the quote—something that is alarming because it prevents objective reporting and censors the press.

Another campus newspaper, the Hilltop Views from St. Edwards University, had around 2,000 copies of their paper stolen following a front page story about a former professor being accused of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church.

No member of the press, including college media, should be subjected to this type of treatment. It suppresses free speech, but more importantly, why not be constructive and help make the organization you are criticizing better?

Do not get it wrong, we appreciate and welcome comments from our readers, and accountability is important for all press organizations; we are simply asking that instead of criticizing everything you think is wrong with the media, actually do something about it and join us to facilitate the change you wish to see.

COLUMN: SGA is slacking

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

As an organization run by students for the students, Student Government Association has been slacking on including the voices of the individuals they are supposed to represent. It really has not been clear what they have done for the students besides approve budgets, cut budgets, and reprimand organizations for not attending legislator meetings.

The information SGA provides to the students seems to be skewed in the direction of student leaders and individuals who are involved in organizations, and they miss the mark with the rest of the student body. Most of the information they are relaying to students is done in such a way that unless you are an active student leader, you just might miss.

In between a crammed protective hour when meetings are held, the navigation of Engage as an every day student for the minutes, and legislator meetings every now and again, the information they discuss and the way people can get their concerns to the Board of Trustees needs to be clearer and more accessible.

Unfortunately, the BOT meetings are closed to the public, and in order to be able to sit in, you must be invited. This is a big issue as well since SGA could simply sugar coat everything as to keep the board members happy or oblivious.

Student Government Association is meant to bridge the gap between the student body and administration, as well as the BOT; however, it seems this year they have almost closed the bridge, or at least have not been maintaining it.

The SGA executive board meets with a select few BOT members during the Student Life Committee, and all they do is show the trustees what they have done for the year.

Last year, there was a survey sent out before the BOT, by SGA, that asked for student input. It was sent to the student body, and SGA received and presented the feedback.

This year, no such thing has happened; they did not ask for the voices they are supposed to be representing, and not many events connecting with the students has happened either, or at least it has felt that way. No more civic conversations, open forums, or even metra pass giveaways. It seems like there has been more drama and entitlement as a replacement.

Not every issue that students bring up can be addressed in one meeting nor does every issue have a simple solution the board members can just sign into action, but simply bringing something up to the trustees to have them think is a reasonable goal that should not take much from our SGA.

Until they have public sessions, we have to settle for the image that the members of SGA create on our behalf.

Let SGA know your concerns sooner rather than later. The BOT members have meetings once a semester on campus, so tell SGA what you want them to hear.

We can only hope that SGA does their job, and as of right now, it seems like a lot is being swept under the rug. Maybe someday the BOT will see the need for public sessions, but until then, we have to hold SGA to a higher standard.