Opinion: A presidential letter to the student body

Opinion: A presidential letter to the student body

April 08
10:01 2014
[dropcap]J[/dropcap]ames Rambin, on behalf of Kam Willard and myself, University of North Texas Student Government Association Student Body President-Elect and Vice President-Elect, I appreciate you writing this article for three reasons: It was fair, it was accurate and it stirred discussion amongst our peers about a serious issue within the UNT student community.

Not a lot of students may be aware of the outcome of the most recent UNT SGA election because so few were involved in the voting process. It is imperative that going forward, students get involved with SGA in order to ensure the voice of the student body is not lost in the decision making processes of university administration.

Centralized locations where students congregate are the best method for an organization like UNT SGA to seek student input. The two largest are the University Union and Willis Library. In the past three years of UNT SGA elections, we have seen a 2 percent decrease each year. What is the cause?

During previous UNT SGA President Reynoso’s election, 10 percent of the student body voted. The library was available to candidates as was the University Union.

The library became off-limits for candidates to solicit votes during President Brown’s election year, where 8 percent of the student body participated.

Now this year, Willis Library was off limits for candidates to solicit votes and we have no University Union available to us as a campus body, and votes were down to 6 percent.

Not having access to a union is damaging to our campus body in more ways than election turnout. The sense of community that a centralized hub encourages on a college campus is such a major component in the college experience.

It is an experience that the class of 2017 has never had, and the classes of 2016, 2015 and 2014 desperately miss.

Other universities have experienced the same hardship when the decision was made to close and renovate their university unions, and still they recovered. I am confident that UNT will recover well when our amazing new union comes, but what about in the mean time?

As an administration, Kam and I are not going to let the lack of a centralized location keep SGA from seeking increased input from the student body. We have already restructured the UNT SGA Executive Branch to be the most productive use of student money.

The positions available are now: Chief of Staff, Chief Officer of Equity and Diversity, Director of Student Affairs, Director of Communications and Director of Leadership and Development.

Applications for these positions opened at 8 a.m. on Monday April 7 and close on Friday April 11 at 5 p.m. The descriptions of these positions and an organizational chart can be found at SGA.UNT.edu, along with the link to apply.

When hiring for these positions, specifically Director of Communications, Kam and I will ensure this type of feedback is incorporated in our discussion. Some of those solutions are already expressed in the job description for the position.

Additionally, Kam and I are working with Zach Brown and Anthony Brown to set up a time for students to come and meet us as well as the newly elected UNT SGA Senate. Refreshments will be provided, and the official date, time and location will be relayed to the NT Daily in a future article.

Kam and I are looking forward to this summer, where we plan to quickly address UNT SGA’s internal issues and leave the year to focus on student need. We need more students like James who are willing to express their opinions openly, because it encourages others to do the same. Kam and I will do our best to provide opportunities for the student voice to be heard, but we need student participation when those opportunities come.

James, thank you again for your article. I hope that in the near future our “campaign promises” become our administration’s accomplishments.

We also looking forward to meeting students in the near future at the meet and greet to be set up! Glory to the Green!

Troy Elliott is a general, choral and instrumental music sophomore. He can be reached at troykla0178@aol.com.

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