Staff Editorial: SA candidates should exhibit decency and transparency

The Undergraduate Student Association Elections Committee, a standing body of the Student Association, rises to the fore of discussion during times of election scandal. This year's election season proves no exception to the seeming rule; committee chair Bernard Goehle stepped down from his position on Feb. 16.

In abandoning his responsibilities as USAEC chair, Goehle, who will appear on the ballot for SA director of student programming, made an ironic and hypocritical move to further his personal interests. According to the SA website, the duties of Goehle's former position include the administration and interpretation of elections policy and the publicizing of elections. Goehle's actions show disregard for the procedure and jeopardize the integrity of the election.

His actions are a small but contemptible example of a greater flaw of SA: It's a body that is vulnerable to the self-serving. The positions on SA are quite susceptible to exploitation; to put it simply, most voters don't care or know enough to elect candidates who have in mind the best interest of their mandatory student activity fee.

Yet easy as it is for students only interested in self-promotion to fill these positions, decency has risen above self-interest in many cases. Senior Will Labate is a prominent example of service to our student body. In his time as director of student affairs, Labate has shown strength of character and mindfulness for the needs of his constituents by fervently organizing student advocacy efforts, promoting the interests of cultural groups and effectively communicating with off-campus students.

Seniors Meghan Pipe and Mary Bock have both shown exemplary leadership as director of academic affairs and director of inter-residence affairs, respectively, transforming their passions for Teach for America and residence life into valuable programs and resources for other students. There are plenty of other examples of commendable student leaders, people who have indeed pursued their own fulfillment in student government but have kept the interests of others in mind while doing so.

Student government lends itself to students seeking self-advancement – SA makes a great line on a résumé. Ambitious or not, though, the individuals who have a say in what happens to our money should be respectable enough to deserve our votes. We should always demand more transparency from SA candidates during election time. Most of us know very little about the names on the ballot. Transparency means we want to hear about these individuals' accolades, too!

Candidates, please take this opportunity to have the decency to be upfront about your intentions. This is the students' government and the students' money, so reach out to the students with your objectives for potential positions. It's a shame that the individual who had the responsibility to inform and promote this entire ordeal has decided to relinquish that responsibility for something he has deemed more worthy of his time.