As a first semester freshmen, I expected that college would have more actively involved clubs and greater involvement by the student body, which, for the most part, is absolutely true. As a broadcasting major, MUTV and WIXQ absolutely outmatch the experiences and opportunities that I had in high school and I am really happy for that. These reasons were considered highly when I decided on Millersville as my choice of university. However, only half a semester in, I have already figured out what everyone else learns in time at Millersville. The Student Senate doesn’t seem to accomplish anything.
As it was described to me by an upperclassman, if you are in Student Senate you have no free time and have nothing to show for it. I came from a high school whose student government didn’t do anything either so I’m disappointed at the fact that I’ll never have the opportunity to be part of an educational community where its students actually solve the issues and problems that the campus faces, or at least the students whose job it is to solve these problems actually solve said issues. It seems that the quickest, most effective way of changing the campus is to bypass the entire student government system and go directly to the university’s board of directors and President Anderson with the proposal. Now I don’t claim to be all knowing of the way things “work ‘round here”, but first impressions and the overwhelming vocal agreement of the majority of upperclassmen have a resounding effect on the freshmen of campus. These same freshmen then become upperclassmen and continue to voice this shortfall to the new set of freshmen, thus creating a perpetual cycle of “Yeah, they don’t do anything”.
Now with the established issues of the ineffective student government and the cycle of negative attitude and hopelessness about the student government it seems like nothing could ever be fixed, but there is the possibility that there is a reason that we find this lack of action from the Student Senate that is outside of their own control, right? The only explanation that I have heard describing how it’s beyond the control of the Student Senate for the lack of action on any front, is because any proposal or idea that the student body puts forth to the board of directors gets stopped there and nothing can get passed. However, this entire notion turns this issue into a giant, he said, she said, and we again reach a deadlock. The idea that Student Senate is being blocked by the board of directors from doing the tasks and goals that they are supposed to achieve is actually a false notion when you look at the evidence and logical reasoning.
The first issue with Student Senate claiming that it’s not their fault and that their hands are tied is that we can see what they are doing. In this very paper we sometimes report on the happenings of Student Senate by giving meeting recaps and the last one of these was in last week’s paper, Volume 92, Issue 5, for the week of October 8, 2015. In their meeting recap they only voted on and passed issues about financial matters, such as donations or allocations for student organizations or campus related organizations. They did not have any notable discussion about any debatable issues that are currently a major concern on campus. The most prevalent of these being the meal plan change that has caused continual waves across campus as it has upset just about everyone who was on a meal plan last year. As of this week, there have been some changes to the meal plan (which is an Opinion article for another day), but there is no precedence that Student Senate had anything to do with it.
Secondly, if you logistically consider the situation at hand, you have to make some assumptions in order to believe one side or the other. If you agree that Student Senate doesn’t do anything off of their own merit, then you have to assume that the student body is uncompromising and unwilling to tackle large issues, much like every other body of government that exists. Meanwhile, if you agree that the Student Senate is being stopped by powers outside of their own control, then you have to assume that; President Anderson and the rest of the board of directors do not want to change the campus to suit the needs of the students, the Student Senate can come to an agreement on the best and most compromising answers to problems, the Student Senate is a victim of the veto power, and the overwhelming majority of upperclassmen students are wrong. If you take this issue through the most basic, essential method of examination in philosophy, Occam’s razor, meaning that the least assumptions is the stronger answer, then it is clear that the Student Senate is, or at least a portion of, the problem.
As I stated earlier, I do not, nor will I ever, claim to understand every aspect of the ways and processes of the entire campus. I will say, however, that the initial impression of the Student Senate is that they do not do anything towards the advancement of campus or finding solutions to the issues that students face. The only thing that they seem to accomplish is working the aspects of the university’s budget, which fall under their jurisdiction. Thus, I see that we have less of a Student Senate and more of a Millersville’s Student Accounting Organization on campus.