EDITORIAL: Handpicked diversity: SGA prioritizing groups of students unfairly


Editorial Cartoon Aug. 10, 2012

THE ISSUE: A proposed amendment to the Student Government Association bylaws that would have provided a permanent senate seat for an international student was ruled unconstitutional by its judicial council on Aug. 29, before being revised and approved in a six minute emergency meeting. This decision was just announced at last week’s SGA meeting. SGA President Keyana Boka and Executive Vice President Mark Reeves, the authors of the amendment, said their intention is to better represent the international student population at WKU.

OUR STANCE: Though the Herald commends the SGA’s actions in its sentiment of trying to better represent the entire student body, the Herald questions whether this measure is the most effective means to that end.

It looks nice on paper.

To be clear, the Herald supports the SGA’s effort to expand its representation.

That is probably SGA’s primary function, and we applaud its effort to accomplish it.

But there is a lack in practicality in creating a permanent senate seat for a particular group of students in which any one student belonging to that group would likely run unopposed, could receive one vote and still win the election.

Plus it wouldn’t even be international students that elect this senate seat. All students vote for these representatives, blurring the original point for them to represent a specific group in the first place.

But what is most disappointing about this solution is the unfairness of the plan — selecting one group of students over another for a permanent senate seat.

We understand international students do pay significantly more tuition to attend WKU and very rarely involve themselves with student government. Most probably don’t even know it exists.

But there are hundreds of ways to separate students into groups with unique interests, and all of them deserve to be represented by the association that calls itself their government.

Some students are non-traditional. Others are out of state. Some are Greek, and still others don’t do anything besides play pick-up basketball at the Preston Health and Activities Center.

Commendably, the SGA has already provided a few of these seats with targeted representation such as the Glasgow campus representative.

But how did the SGA decide that international students were in need of representation more than any other group on campus?

You simply cannot fix everything with bubble gum, duct tape and faith.

Students have spoken year after year that they are basically uninterested in the SGA’s actions at WKU.

About 1,463 students voted in last spring’s SGA elections.

For a school with close to 21,000 total students, that’s — well, you do the math.

It’s especially sad when one considers the voting could be done in about five minutes on your preferred smart phone on TopNet.

Being an upstanding, representative body, the SGA at least has decided to do something about this disinterest.

Last week’s proposal is, on some level, an excellent move by a campus entity that needs visibility.

If you can’t get a tenth of the student body to care about who is elected in your organization that claims to represent everyone, it stands to reason that you’re struggling.

If students don’t feel like they have an avenue for their voice at WKU, they’re not going to spend even five minutes deciding between candidates that won’t represent their desires.

So, the SGA hatches this great plan to add a seat for international students.

But Boka and Reeves need to back away from the bubble gum and come up with a more permanent solution.

This editorial represents the

majority opinion of the Herald’s 9-member editorial board.