Hannah Richards, Reporter
At Mississippi College, student government has come a long way. In the last twenty years, relations between student and the academic council over them has improved significantly—especially considering that a little over twenty years ago, the student government passed a vote of “no confidence” in the academic administration.
This year, under the leadership of student body President Mary McCrea and Vice President Rowan St. John, the Student Government Association is thriving. During the next nine months, SGA and the Executive Council is looking to reach out to students in new and innovative ways, and clearly convey what the students want to the academic administration above them.
During the last week, amidst voting about Homecoming and Homecoming maids, the Student Government Association has been conducting a survey about the cafeteria food and meal plan, hoping to gain insight into how the students are adapting to the new hybrid unlimited meals plan. This is just one of several surveys and “comment boxes” that SGA is planning on having for the students to voice their opinions.
While these aspirations are noble and good, and certainly ones that create a community of accountability and honest in the student government, many of the problems now, and again, lie with the administration in charge of the changes SGA will request.
One of the most popular misconceptions about student government at Mississippi College is the amount of power that they possess. While the bills they craft in committee and pass on the senate floor may be ones that benefit the overall wellbeing of the students, there is absolutely nothing that will guarantee that the administration acts upon those bills. In effect, Senate can pass whatever measures they would like, but it is up to the middle and upper administration to impact direct change in regards to those bills.
One of the upcoming bills that could soon be passed is one that would make the minutes of each Senate meeting readily available to all students. These minutes take a full week to be approved, so while a vote may have occurred during their weekly meeting on Monday night, the student body wouldn’t be aware of it until the following week, after the vote is final.
This is one of the first positive steps taken towards full disclosure and accountability, and places the Student Government Association more fully in the hands of the students who have elected these representatives. While the notes won’t be available until a week after the event, it will allow students to see plainly what is happening in each of the five committees and what their representatives have been working on.
One of the benefits of this new bill releasing the minutes of the Senate meetings is that any bills that are passed in the Senate and yet not enacted by the administration are things that any student can follow up on and request that action be taken.
Since this school year has just commenced, and the freshman senators were just elected and oriented to their jobs, there aren’t too many other bills coming to the floor of the senate. Once the semester has progressed, especially after fall break, The Collegian was assured by a junior senator that there would be more bills passed and that others are in the works currently.
In an interview with former Student body Vice President and current student body President, Mary McCrea expressed multiple times that her purpose for this year’s executive council is to be open and available to the student body. In addition, she also elaborated on several plans that the Executive Council has to work with new members of the administration and start enacting change in new areas and venues. As the SGA President, she serves on several boards as the voice of the students, recommending action or change that should occur, and providing feedback from the perspective of a student.
The SGA and Executive Council leadership at Mississippi College, while not without their own flaws, are made up of attentive and involved students who truly act with the best wishes of their fellow students in mind. New students and transfers, while slightly inexperienced in the ways that Mississippi College life works, should know that their best interests are being well represented by the many people we have in student government.