Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

SGA lacks leadership, transparency

It’s been an interesting week for the Student Government Association.

What started out as an innocuous story in The Crimson White has somehow managed to snowball into the resignation of SGA President Grant Cochran, and you’d be excused for wondering exactly how an irregularity in the selection process for a minor council with no real legislative power caused the SGA president to resign the Friday night before a gameday.

I decided last week to write about the SGA, but at the time it was about something completely different. In fact, it was about the same story that ran on Sept. 19 that detailed the “battle” over the First Year Council bill (more on that later).

I was more interested in the part that discussed the SGA’s decision to promote Bama Dining locations, as the idea of endorsing a private company outside the UA umbrella seemed a bit unethical. According to the story, some senators agree with me.

I went to the SGA website to read the resolution, remembering that last year one of then-president James Fowler’s big initiatives was to put all SGA legislation on the website for anyone to access.

Imagine my surprise, then, when the last piece of legislation to be put online was seven months ago (except for the peculiar case of three pieces of legislation dated Nov. 11, 2011, which ended up being a typo and not, as I had hoped, proof of time travel). Moreover, the latest stories on the front page were from the end of last semester, and the last time any meeting minutes were posted was back in February.

Also, there’s an “Eye of the Tiger” music video at the bottom of the page. Really.

So my original column was just going to be about transparency, but the proverbial hits just kept on coming.

First, SGA Senator Lauren Hardison wrote in to The CW with the absurd notion that somebody somewhere needed clarification about Bill 30-11, which decided who was allowed to call a special session of the First Year Council. Now, why anyone would feel the need to call a special session of a council with no real power or authority blows my mind. Even more absurd is the fact that people are actually willing to have prolonged arguments over who gets to call said special sessions.

I, like I imagine most of the student body, more or less ignored this column. At this point, I was still just going to write about a lack of transparency. But then another guest column ran, authored by the SGA Attorney General, which I’m told is a thing.

I’ll let Attorney General David Simpson take it from here:

“I find it unfortunate that members of the SGA Senate have decided to escalate the use of rhetoric and political maneuvers in regards to bill B-30-11…Additionally, I think choosing to write The Crimson White to express concerns that should have first been discussed in person highlights the lack of communication that certain senators are willing to have with members of the executive branch.”

There are two aspects of this statement that I want to focus on. The first is the use of phrases like “rhetoric” and “political maneuvers” (he later accuses senators of posturing and flexing political power). I’d like to remind everyone that we’re still talking about who gets to call special session of the First Year Council. That’s literally it.

This isn’t about a budget crisis or a scandal (not yet, at least) or anything that actually matters. All of this is over a power that no one will ever use.

The second part of the statement reinforces my conclusion. The lack of leadership within the SGA is astounding if there are actual people who believe writing a letter to The Crimson White is some sort of political maneuver. Seriously, y’all are only here for a few years. Just talk it out.

Then, in an unrelated scandal, Director of First Year Council Sara Lavender and SGA President Grant Cochran resigned. From having heard about the specific irregularities within the FYC selection process, I can tell you Lavender should have resigned.

The rest of the story is still somewhat unclear, but the whole situation reeks of students with a bad case of Unwarranted Self-Importance.


John Davis is a senior majoring in telecommunication and film. His column runs on Mondays.

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