The Future of Student-Led Activism

Student Government

Dominic Savana and Michaela Korges

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The Student Leadership Organization (SLO) has found a new advocate-in-chief in Sherri Freedman. Sherri came to CAC this past August, and she has since inspired the students in SLO to take a larger advocacy role in the college by proposing a split: a student government association (SGA) and a campus activities board (CAB). The two new organizations would split up the roles that students in SLO currently take on. It’s a smart shift, one that would focus the efforts of students into their areas of greatest interest.
The student government association will be headed by a student body president. This individual will be tasked with presiding over student government meetings, will meet with the president of the college on a regular basis, and will attend all Board of Governors meetings. It is an incredible responsibility for any student to take on, but the student body needs an activist that is willing to donate their time for the betterment of us all. One vice president and one senator will be elected from each campus. They will be responsible for overseeing committees and drafting potential changes for the college. The student body president would have veto power of all legislation, and after being approved by the student body president, all legislation would still have to make it through Student Services, the College President, and the Board before being approved. This is still a huge improvement to the current channels for student-led activism, which currently come up through SLO or through faculty and staff.
The danger of this body comes by way of how it is being implemented. In its first iteration, the SGA and the CAB members will be chosen by a panel after applications are submitted and interviews are conducted. Until a proper election system is implemented, it is difficult to gauge how well represented the student body will be in this group of individuals. We have seen what a like-minded group of students mad on power do on campuses such as Princeton, Yale, or New York University. The appointed student government representatives should be cognizant of the backlash their decisions could have without the reinforcement of an open election backing their choices. Rule one to politics: understand your constituents and how they will react.
Applications opened on February 2, and they will close February 16. Ms. Freedman explained that the application window is typical for employment applications at CAC. An email went out from Charlie Rosenbam titled “District-wide Student E-mail Distribution List: Big Changes are coming to Student Leadership Organization!” The e-mail header is a bit misleading in the inbox, since the only visible part until its clicked on reads, “District-wide Student E-mail Distr.” but that is where you will need to apply if you are interested.
Applicants will then go through an interview process between February 21 and March 3. SGA meetings will take place every Wednesday at 3:00pm, so be sure the time fits with your schedule! Members will receive a $500 scholarship to reward them for their service as well as have the opportunity to attended conferences and events that will strengthen their college experience.
This shift is ambitious and moving quickly. This change could have been better implemented to include an election for this semester, but what is going on is still a step in the right direction. It is not an understatement to say that CAC needs a dedicated group of students to advocate on behalf of the student body. Student advocacy was one of the major deficiencies when I arrived at CAC, and it wasn’t for a lack of desire; it was a lack of knowing it was a possibility. In 1969, the first year the school was open, CAC did have a form of student government. Student advocacy is a part of what this school was founded on.
Get those applications in!

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