Temple Student Government has a slogan – It’s all about you. But really, who is it all about? Who does the group represent?
The inclusion of three slates in his year’s TSG elections is a welcome hange, a shift toward democracy. Last year’s vote was essentially a formality. Only one slate, Owl Potential, ran for election. This is not an indictment of Juan Galeano as TSG president. The graduating senior has dedicated his entire college career to TSG and other service organizations.
It is, however, an indictment of TSG’s inability to involve students in its elections. A year ago, students should have cried foul that they had no choice in their student leadership. Instead, as The Temple News reported “‘07 voter turnouts take a dip,” Tyson McCloud, April 17, 2007], we saw the lowest turnout in any recent election.
A paltry 1,252 students voted in the election, 1,082 of which cast their ballots for the Owl Potential. A few write-in candidates declared their intentions to run for president. Unfortunately, this miserable turnout is not an aberration. In 2006, 3,284 students cast their ballots in the student government elections. In 2005, A Stronger Temple won an election in which just 3,306 votes were cast.
With more than 30,000 students on campus, a turnout of 10 percent is just not acceptable. In a constitutional convention earlir this year, TSG did away with its traditional General Assembly format, in which representatives from every
TSG-affiliated student organization would vote on the assembly’s budget. That meeting has been replaced by a bimonthly TSG Senate meeting, in which a smaller group of elected representatives will vote on appropriations.
When the constitution was passed, The Temple News reported that Galeano assured detractors that an open forum would be available during every student senate meeting [“TSG members wary of General Assembly removal,” Rebecca Hale, March 18, 2008].
Time will tell if reforms will generate interest in the group’s activities. For now, it is time to elect our student leadership. TSG must do a betterjob promoting its debates, something they didn’t do last year when a debatewas pre-empted by a meeting of the Anime Club. As The Temple News reported [“Ironing out scheduling, space rifts,” Nick Pipitone, April 17, 2007], students missed out on a chance to learn what the slate had to offer. If this organization wants to continue to claim to be “All about you,” they’ll have to make the effort.
Or else, who do they represent?