Columns / Discourse / May 20, 2015

Political ideology not important in Student Senate

Q: What do you think the fact that a significant portion of the new Senate Executive Council identifies as some sort of “conservative” says about the Knox campus?

A: I have a very short answer for you: it doesn’t matter. Political ideology has little to do with who is on Student Senate and how those people vote, no matter how much the name of the group may seem to imply otherwise. If you are open-minded enough to come to Knox, it isn’t hard to compromise and come together when it matters most.

What many people don’t realize is that the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary of Student Senate do not even have a vote in the meetings and are really only there to oversee and plan, as opposed to decide anything intensely controversial. As for any chairpeople you may be speaking of that do have votes, Student Senate is not relevant to local, state or national politics; the campus has its own politics to deal with. As much as I hate to say it, most of us really won’t have the greatest personal concept of American politics until we are in the real world and we are the ones paying our own taxes from our own pockets and all that jazz. Our campus opinions and passions should be what make a person qualified for an office.

In addition to those details, as far as I’m concerned, I’m not entirely sure that anyone knows what any newly-elected Exec member’s political ideologies are, with myself as the exception (sort of, since nobody asks me any political questions anymore) unless you personally know these people, and I’m not sure it’s anyone’s business but his or her own. A political ideology is not a deadly disease: it isn’t going to kill you if you sit next to someone who voted for Mitt Romney. You aren’t going to catch a cold if you have a conversation with someone with an opposing viewpoint, or even someone you may suspect has an opposing viewpoint. Who got elected is who got elected for reasons that aren’t related to their irrelevant opinions and viewpoints. I promise you, my libertarian views aren’t contagious, as long as I cover my mouth when I cough.

On that matter, I encourage every single one of you to run for General Assembly in the fall. It is obvious, after such interesting backlash after the Executive Council election results were released, that the campus is passionate about its leadership and the decisions made by Student Senate. The bottom line is that the power isn’t really in Senate Exec’s hands, it’s in the hands of the General Assembly; you know, those six representatives from each class (twenty-four in total) that actually “ok” all of those new club requests and budget requests. More students than ever voted in this past Senate Exec election (513 as opposed to the 400 average!), and I think that speaks for itself. If you have the fervor and the zeal to be involved on campus and you aren’t satisfied with the candidates, just take matters into your own hands and run for a position. I, for one, certainly don’t care what your political ideologies are; if you have input on how to better this campus, then please, by all means, exercise that.

 

Shannon Caveny

Tags:  Conservative dialogue general assembly political ideology Student Senate

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