The threat of empty promises

By Breanne Williams, COLUMNIST
On February 22, 2017

Student Government candidates debated platform issues and promised a more inclusive SG under their administration. ORACLE PHOTO/JACKIE BENITEZ

The second debate for the Student Government (SG) presidential elections came to a close Wednesday evening with thunderous applause. 

Both tickets spent the hour boasting about their grand plans to revamp SG, yet history has shown those promises rarely come true. 

The candidates promised a revolution in SG. 

They vowed to revamp the structure of the administration so students’ voices were the driving force behind every decision made.

Both essentially echoed the sentiments heard every year by hopeful candidates. Yet every year, the same issues occur.

Parking has been a major platform for over a decade. Parking is still a major issue at USF.

Transparency has been on every platform for years. SG is still a closed-off and secretive entity.

If you know how to work the system, SG is very useful. If you know the right people, SG can help make sure your wishes are fulfilled. If you’re an average student, you probably have no idea what SG even does, let alone who is making those decisions. 

So once again, we are in election season, and once again, our candidates are promising to make that change. 

Let’s hope they make good on their promises. 

Ryan Soscia and his vice presidential running mate, Logan Holland, said a major platform focus was ensuring SG heard students’ voices. 

They currently have a discussion board on their campaign page where they ask students to write what issues they want to see on the platform. Soscia said he planned on creating a similar item on the SG page, if elected. 

A discussion board is a good idea. It’s an easy way to put your opinion out there. However, a list of people’s opinions will ultimately mean nothing if the administration doesn’t truly comb through them and then work on making meaningful changes to address those issues.

Moneer Kheireddine and his vice presidential running mate Shaquille Kent said it was essential students were able to directly contact their representatives in order to make sure SG was making decisions that actually reflected what the student body wants. 

Kheireddine plans on revamping the MyUSF app to include a page with representatives’ names, the college they represent and contact information so anyone who had an issue would know immediately who to contact to get that resolved. 

This would be helpful. It would be an easy way for students to put a face to their needs. It reflects a change happening on a national level, as contact information for state and national legislatures are beginning to pop up as apps on social media, and even on politician’s websites. 

The burden will then lie on the students, as it rightly should, to step up and begin to pressure their representative. If something isn’t done, but the representative can prove no one reached out to them, students won’t have a reason to vaguely complain about an unproductive government. 

Both tickets have multiple valid plans to improve accountability and communication between SG and its constituents. Next week, one of them will be elected. 

Touting grand plans of inclusivity and transparency means nothing if those promises are not upheld. We, as students, have to ensure whoever is elected is held accountable for the platform they were put in office for. 

SG rarely is up to date on minutes, frequently has meetings where no one outside of those elected are in attendance and has policies that sometimes go against Florida statutes. 

Current president Chris Griffin has thankfully made improvements of being open, and has been available for interview or to comment on the ongoings of the fourth floor. That progress cannot be reversed. 

There is inarguably a vast amount of work to be done before SG is ever considered to be a morally sound and student-focused establishment. 

These candidates have said they are the ones to make those changes happen. Let’s hope, for once, there is substance behind their promises. 

 

Breanne Williams is a senior majoring in mass communications. 

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