SGA’s Purpose Explained

by Erica Mundell
Staff Writer

A student government is a common institution on college campuses. And like most governments, they are not without controversy. At California State University at Fresno, the leaders of the student government were accused of misusing funds. A professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha filed a grievance against the student government for what he felt, was them overstepping their boundaries by rearranging meeting schedules. With Transylvania University involved in its own dispute, it may be time to examine what our own Student Government Association can and cannot do.

The role of SGA on campus is to uphold their mission statement by finding out the opinions and ideas of the students at Transy, and sharing this with the administration. But what exactly does this entail for the senators and leaders of SGA?

“The key element of SGA, in practical terms, is that SGA is the ‘student voice,’ and when we want to hear what the students feel about a topic or change of practice or policy, we get feedback from them through SGA,” said Dean of Students Michael Vetter. “A student on SGA must know that it is important for them to take the role seriously and do their homework on issues so that they really do represent their fellow students.”

Student Government Association also brings forward issues that they have found to be most important to students. They are what Vetter calls a “recommending body,” that is, the senators recommend what should be done in the best interest of students to the administrators making decisions.

“For example, at times they have recommended to Bob Brown [Director of Residence Life] changes or improvements that need to be made in that area,” said Vetter.

SGA can also be looked at as the influence of the student body, instead of the other way around like many
perceive it to be.

There are very few limits on what SGA can look into. According to Vetter, the only thing they really cannot affect is what a faculty member teaches in class and how they teach it. As far as what is offered at Transy though, SGA may bring forth any issues or ideas students may have, and propose a change.

The officers of SGA work closely with the officers and administrators on campus as well. This includes the President’s cabinet and other staff of the university. They meet on a regular basis, and the president of SGA meets with President Charles Shearer often. The Student Life committee and Academic Affairs committee of SGA meet frequently with the same committees composed of faculty members in order to reach the best decision that will benefit the students of Transy.

SGA also gives funding to other organizations on campus, including start-up funds and continuing program funds.

“I think each year we see the officers trying to go one step further in being able to represent the students, like doing surveys or ‘Storm the Dorm.’ They keep finding ways for their members to be able to really listen to what the students are saying,” said Vetter.


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