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Student Government not ‘impotent’

Letter to the Editor | Friday, February 9, 2007

Maybe I’m not as enlightened as Amanda Michaels. Maybe I’m not as informed, or as aware of how the campus really operates. But even if this is the case, I would hate to think that the Student Government is as meaningless and “impotent” as she defines it to be.

After reading Michaels’s article (“Lack of Realistic Goals Shocks, Disappoints,” Feb. 8) I began to think that she and I saw two very different Student Government debates last night. I saw four tickets proposing ideas, putting forth platforms, and engaging in a lively discussion of what they consider to be hot-button issues around our campus. Michaels apparently saw eight people who either have no idea what Student Government means, if they are “clueless,” or who, at the best, hope that they can trick and cajole the student body into voting for them. I saw candidates who really seemed to care about improving Notre Dame, including the somewhat radically minded Padberg and Coggon. Michaels saw presidential and vice presidential hopefuls deluding themselves, thinking they can make a difference in a University system controlled by the bureaucracy.

Student Government is, granted, not about completely overhauling and modifying the structure of our school. But it certainly is not as ineffective and, ultimately worthless, as Michael’s editorial would lead one to believe. The Student Government President and Vice President, along with the other Student Government bodies, work what I assume is tirelessly to fully represent the majority student opinion. It may take awhile for their resolutions to amount to anything, but they at least start the dialogue. Michaels claims that she has had “enough ‘dialogue’ over the past year.” I think she has become all too weary of such discussion, though, because dialogue is the essential entrance point for change.

Individual students do not have the ability to discuss with the University higher-ups their concerns. The Student Government speaks to those concerns and takes upon itself the voice of the universal student. Each of the tickets last night mentioned the need for better communication between government and student; each had a plan for making this communication better than it already is to improve the system of representation that much more. Without the Student Government starting dialogues, no progress would ever be made because the administration would continue to view the students as apathetic and uninvolved, a reputation some view the student body to have that is in desperate need of reform. And, to use a gross analogy, without dialogue, the greatest reforms of all time would have never taken place (the calling of the Second Continental Congress, the formation of the National Assembly).

We need people to continue the dialogue because without it, we stand no chance of ever seeing any change to the status quo. The four tickets running for Student Government President-Vice President should be applauded for taking the time and effort to see what they think the campus wants and to look for the way to discuss its potential restructuring.

Andrew Miller


Dillon Hall

Feb. 8