OPINION | SGA advisers play vital role

Published April 18, 2012

The recent attacks on the Student Government Association have taken a turn for the worse.

The criticisms no longer are directed at the students who represent us. Now advisers are being targeted for unwarranted reasons.

The latest assault on SGA leaders and advisers was centered on the Dean of Student Life Irene Stevens for her announcement at assembly on April 4 pertaining to The Collegian’s push for recent election data.

This push has already met defeat in the student assembly. However, the agenda for obtaining the data continues and shows no signs of slowing down.

It does seem to be derailing as it has moved into a disheartening direction.

Targeting the advisers because of the frustrations felt after the failed motion to release the election data causes concern and is  misguided.

The students elected and appointed in SGA must continue seeking advice and have their advisers involved in assembly.

A successful organization thrives on incorporating the voices of many—not an enclosed few.

My three years of involvement in SGA have given me plenty of insight into the functions and actions advisers have performed.

During this time, I know the advisers have never undermined the trust of students.

Not once in the Council on Presidential Affairs meetings, executive committee meetings or student assemblies did an advisor take initiative on a project or make a decision.

The same can be said during the meetings I had with former SGA President Chris Ring, former university President Bobby Fong, former Provost Jamie Comstock and Vice President for Student Affairs Levester Johnson.

Decisions are either made by the student-elected representatives or voted on by the student assembly.

The role of the advisers is to sit in on the meetings, which are chaired and run by the student leader, and help answer any questions that may arise throughout the discussion.

The last thing I wanted when I chaired CPA was to pursue an issue that could take weeks to find an answer, only to come to a dead end.

This would have happened on a number of occasions if my advisers did not give me advice that let me  pursue the situation correctly.

I believe the action of incorporating staff or faculty advisers deserves more use, since student-run organizations would benefit from their guidance.

A student coming into the role of vice president or president has an insignificant amount of experience compared to the combined years of the involved staff advisors.

I would be dumbfounded if I learned one of the SGA officials representing me blatantly ignored advice from Stevens or adviser Caroline Huck-Watson.

Students involved in SGA must pursue advice and guidance when dealing with a $700,000 budget, and the inner workings of Butler University.

I would imagine students, and The Collegian, would be more upset that a budget was presented and went through a process in which the executive committee did not listen to any advisors.

I would also be greatly embarrassed if students elected a president who went rogue  and pursued an agenda in front of the Board of Trustees that would bring disgrace to the student body after dismissing advice from an advisor and the administrators on campus.

I urge President-elect Mike Keller and the student leaders he surrounds himself with to continue including Watson, Stevens, Johnson and any other staffers, administrators or faculty when making decisions that impact the Butler community.

Keller should also continue having them involved in student assembly.

Though outsiders might find themselves frustrated with actions performed by SGA, I caution them before they jump to conclusions.

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