Our view: Review leads to reform

DKS Editors

Undergraduate Student Government took a step in the right direction Wednesday, asking directors to re-evaluate their job descriptions based on what the bylaws state.

Executive Director Jonathan Bey told USG members he wants honesty: He wants to know what obstacles they’re facing and suggestions for improvement.

In essence, Bey wants them to cite what works and what doesn’t.

“(A review is) especially important this year because it’s new,” Bey said at the meeting yesterday. “When we wrote the bylaws, the decisions probably weren’t made realistically. We need to actually work in practice as opposed to theory.”

Twenty-five students make up the body of USG as directors and senators, representing academic colleges and working to improve campus interests. The former Undergraduate Student Senate only consisted of the nine senators working to improve campus interests, such as programming, student advancement and business and finance.

In Spring 2007, Kent State students – or at least those few who actually voted – approved the expanded USG. We thought bigger government, more representation: Where’s the flaw in that idea?

Turns out, the student voters were wrong – at least to a certain extent. The expanded student governing body has muddled the responsibilities of members, especially the senators for the colleges. We’re not surprised. Any transition is doomed to a rocky start as people learn their new positions.

Perhaps that’s why USG has been fairly quiet this semester, aside from their two sponsored concerts so far and Meet the Deans week. But for a campus brimming with 18,000 students daily, we need a strong student government advocating our voice to the higher-ups and organizing events to encourage student unity.

Still, USG has tremendous potential. According to its bylaws, the new senators should be communicating monthly with deans, attending Faculty Senate meetings when it pertains to their colleges and planning events for the colleges, among other responsibilities.

But if plans are not laid out from the beginning, the concept will fail. Senators must have a clear vision for what they need to accomplish as they assume their roles after the USG elections.

Not all senators and directors will be graduating come May. Those not leaving may opt to run again for their positions. Plus, current members still have spring semester to serve.

Identifying issues now leaves ample time to at least start reforming past mistakes.

Senators and directors, the rest is up to you. Give some thought to your positions. Be innovative. We’re all getting excited for the semester to end, but in reality, it is only November. Keep working for the student body.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.