EDITORIAL: Vote in Student Government Elections

A tragic fact about elections at Marshall University: homecoming elections consistently receive more votes than student government elections.  

At first glance, this might make sense. Many more people run for homecoming court each year than for student body president and each homecoming candidate is directly sponsored by a campus organization.  

On paper, it is clear to see this is completely backward – Mr. and Ms. Marshall do not sit on the board of governors, sign legislation or represent the student body at a state or even national political level. While Mr. and Ms. Marshall can do great things, the roles do not compare to student body president and vice president.  

 The student body president serves as the sole student representative on the board of governors. Serving on the board of governors is the single most important student role that exists on Marshall’s campus. The board acts as the final authority for most major decisions, including presidential searches and budgets and tuition increases.  

 The board needs a student voice that not only accurately represents the feelings and desires of the student body but adds additional context to their conversations when discussing student issues. Their decisions affect students, faculty and staff, and input from these three stakeholders is essential for sound decision making from the board.  

 Even less focus is placed on senators within student government. These positions create legislation that can quite literally change student life and the use of university resources. This legislation can also theoretically add to student fees and tuition, a power that should not be taken lightly.  

 Additionally, student government represents the student body to the public. They speak to politicians, activists, community members and attend events. They should listen to their constituents and actively work on behalf of those who elected them.  

 If you don’t know your senators, get to know them. If you don’t believe you and others within your college are being represented properly, vote for someone else or run next year yourself.  

 Students often complain about the disconnect between students and student government, but communication runs as a two-way street.  

 Students have for too long ignored what happens within student government and SGA elections, only to feel their desired changes are being ignored. This is not the United States government. Your representatives are your peers and are as accessible as an Instagram follow or email. Let’s not shift the blame solely on those within student government.  

 But the bare minimum is to vote. There is no excuse for a poor voter turnout with two days of voting and a wide array of ways to inform yourself on the issues and platforms of each candidate. This impacts you – act like it by voting.