The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the editor: On the state of SGA

I am privileged to say that this is the second semester I am serving as the OCCO Senator. It’s a job I love. However, on March 7, Max Hill ’20, the Administrative Coordinator (AC) of SGA, will be constitutionally obligated to motion for my impeachment. On March 7, I will have officially missed three sessions of Campus Council, despite my best efforts and the best efforts of many others, including LaKerRoJe Senator Regina Logan and Professor Lesley Delmenico, theater and dance.

Like I said, I love being a part of SGA. I go to my committee meetings, I hold regular office hours, I help run student initiatives and I even try to make mini-minutes as short as possible. However, there is another activity that has me bound in certain time constraints: I do theater. Like a theater and dance major, I receive academic credit for department productions and am required to attend rehearsals from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Sunday through Thursday. Unlike majors, however, I am not required to be a member of four department productions in order to graduate.

Campus Council has historically met on Wednesday nights from 8 p.m. to about 9:30 or 10. This was designed so that people would be able to eat dinner, attend athletic practices and do work they needed to do before the session in order to promote accessibility. The location has changed around, but the time has been kept the same. 

At a recent session of Campus Council, Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA) Epps said that, because the traditional time has never been a problem, SGA isn’t to blame for not having changed it. In other words: it wasn’t broken, so it wasn’t fixed. I think more accurately, no one noticed it was broken, so no one fixed it. I said it was broken. I went before Campus Council, and I made it clear that faithfully sticking to a single time and place prevented an entire major of students from serving for at least four semesters of their time at Grinnell. I said that maybe the reason no one in SGA was aware of this problem is because the people affected by it weren’t able to serve in SGA. I acknowledged that there is never going to be a perfect time, but at the very least we can work to find a time that doesn’t make people choose between their job representing their constituents and their career plans and academic success.   

Logan and I attempted to find a new time for Campus Council to meet, and I plan on continuing to work with SGA this semester to find a time that works best for the most people. However, SGA has faithfully stood by their routine, continuing to ignore the academic needs of an entire subset of the student body. This problem was brought to Council three times. The first was when we didn’t even attempt to fulfill our constitutional obligation to set the time and date in a way acceptable to all members. Then again, at my last session when I brought forth the necessity of this change, I was told it has never been an issue before. And then for a third time it was brought up by Senator Logan before Cabinet motioned to limit the debate to one second before a sufficient conclusion was reached. 

Because of this failure to act, on March 7, Hill will be forced to begin impeachment proceedings. More importantly, however, because of this failure, the students majoring in theater and dance spend at least half of their time being barred from serving as an elected member of Student Government. It is not explicitly the fault of any one person within SGA or Cabinet — this is a long-standing problem that has been ignored and unseen for some time now. However, the blame does now rest on the shoulders of the current members of SGA. A problem was presented but the pursuit of a solution was ignored for the sake of convenience and tradition.

I’d like to be shocked and appalled, but I’m not. It is indicative of the state of SGA on the whole. Just like any other bureaucracy, SGA is quick to defend itself but slow to change. I hope that the next round of executives will be able to address this problem, as it seems the ones we have now see no need to have this problem fixed.

— Quinn Ercolani ’20

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