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UA does not need SGA if it fails to provide progress

Patrick Crowley

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A month ago, I wrote that the SGA must save itself from irrelevance by installing leadership with bold and progressive vision, especially female leadership. It was wishful thinking on my part, and I was quickly dragged back down to reality last Tuesday when the mostly male, Machine-backed candidates swept the executive positions.

Of course, the independent candidates – Justin Thompson, Elliot Spillers and Khortlan Patterson – deserve recognition and applause for offering UA students a competitive and interesting SGA election, unlike last year.

Yet, is there a need for the SGA, given the current milieu of progress and change on campus that stems from similar-minded individuals banding together to create change where it is needed?

Indeed, it was not the SGA that voiced any concern about sorority recruitment in the fall; it was a group of students named UA Stands that boldly stood amongst fellow students, faculty and administrators on the steps of Rose administration and encouraged the integration of sororities. Rather than speak out and represent the student body, the SGA remained silent, save for one resolution passed ex post facto thanking the University of Alabama administration for extending the bid process.

It was a momentous occasion for the University, with the SGA standing on the sidelines expecting others to do what is right and only expressing thanks because it was obligatory and good for public relations.

Perhaps the SGA is a victim to the growing trend around the world of real power stemming from groups of individuals and no longer the state, military or large organizations. The events in Syria, Turkey, Venezuela, Ukraine and numerous other countries confirm the trend of power to the people.

And as the world continues to become increasingly globalized and individualistic, problems will arise for organizations known for cronyism, inefficiency and lack of moral leadership, such as the SGA. Perhaps though, removing the benefit of the doubt, the SGA is actually that bad at creating positive, sustained change and is not the voice of the entirety of the student body but just a voice for a select few.

Hypothetically, why would a UA student ask the SGA for help on an endeavor, which they will not receive, when they can gather their friends, formulate a plan of action and present it to administrators willing to listen? They can bypass all the unnecessary interactions with the SGA and actually work with people with the power, influence and resources necessary for a successful project.

This may cause severe headaches for administrators if students are allowed frequent visits, but the dearth of productivity in the SGA is dragging down the University. In addition, if the administration wants experiential learning to be the teaching style and methodology of choice, there would be no better way for students to learn leadership than from working alongside the administrators and deans on projects.

There used to be a time where the SGA had actual leaders with ingenious ideas to better campus. The leaders would encourage collaboration between the SGA, student body and administration to move this campus forward. But that time has passed, because of everything the SGA has failed to do this year and the election of several bland leaders over bold leaders with different visions like Ms. Patterson and Mr. Spillers.

Unfortunately, I can see no reason why Hamilton Bloom and the new administration will be any different from their predecessors. I wish them the best of luck and to enjoy their offices and paychecks. I will make sure to glance at the sidelines for the obligatory SGA thank you when my fellow students continue to better this University next year.

Patrick Crowley is a junior majoring in mathematics, finance and economics. His column runs weekly on Mondays.

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UA does not need SGA if it fails to provide progress