Our View: New SGA should learn from mistakes

Our View

In short: The mistakes of the 2009-10 SGA administration should provide lessons for the new administration to learn from.

This past year hasn’t been the easiest for the UA Student Government Association. A scandal involving SGA funds paying for a few student leaders to travel to Pasadena around the BCS Championship Game – or “Pasadena-gate” as it has come to be known – marred the integrity of the SGA in the eyes of many.

Other failures of communication diminished the effectiveness of programs like the Fall and Spring II minimesters.

These failures in communication seemed to be the dominant theme of the administration. The problem with Pasadena wasn’t the money or the trip itself. It was the lack of communication with the senate and the students. The minimesters are a great idea and an effective program that students were not able to utilize fully because many did not even know they existed.

The new SGA can learn from this lack of communication. Next year, our SGA should know how better to inform and engage students. They are, after all, the Student Government Association. They should never be leaving students in the dark.

Students were certainly confused at one point about the SGA’s Code of Laws. Discrepancies between different versions online did little to help the SGA be more responsive and honest toward students.

Fortunately, the SGA made efforts to clarify its constitution and open itself up to students. A clearer governing document and open senate committee meetings will help next year’s SGA avoid the appearance of secrecy that plagued the previous administration.

Despite issues with communication and transparency, the SGA under Steven Oliver managed to improve life for students. They opened up parking at the Rec to all students, not just commuters, making it easier for on-campus students to stay in shape. They instituted and expanded a textbook rental program that has made class more affordable to students. DegreeWorks is possibly one of the most effective tools possible for helping students and advisors plan for the future.

This past year’s SGA has done a lot. It’s up to James Fowler and the other new members of the SGA to keep the pace.

Fowler ran his campaign on learning from the mistakes of the past. While he was one of the students involved in Pasadena-gate, he focused on admitting that a mistake was made and ensuring it’s never made again. During the campaign, a typical Fowler sentence included a noun, a verb and “transparency,” and that’s not a bad sign.

If Fowler and his fellow SGA executives, who were sworn in this week, are able to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors, they can achieve even more success. If they follow through on their promises, their success won’t be overshadowed by anything else, and that’s the best outcome for everyone on this campus.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board. Managing Editor Alan Blinder recused himself from this editorial.