Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Unsolved mysteries: the SGA

“Who are these people? What do they do? Why the hell should I care about this crap anyway?” If you find yourself asking these questions concerning the acronym “SGA,” you are not alone. I have been here for three years, and I still have no clue what the hell people are talking about when they say “SGA.”

I thought SGA was some STD and all of the signs for SGA meetings were signs for the “Sick Genitalia Association.” Then, I was walking around the student union where I saw the “SGA Office” and I thought, “Wow, they have a whole office for this ‘Association of the Genitally Afflicted.'” (I was trying to come up with less-inflammatory names for the ‘groins on fire’ club.)

Then a friend kindly pointed out “No, you idiot, SGA is the Student Government Association. Remember student council in High School?”

I thought an STD association sounded strange, but then I thought that it made sense considering the 25,000 students who go here. And then if you consider the amount of people who live in Southwest, factor in the frats, and add on the transient hippies in Central…

My friend was disappointed in my stupidity.

Suddenly I felt ripped off. I come to UMass for diversity and they can’t even give me one damn STD club?! Its not like I’m afflicted, its not like I want to join, but I want options, damn it!

Later on, I read in the paper concerning some hullabaloo between ALANA (My friends kindly pointed out before I could ask that No, not everyone in ALANA is named Alana) and the SGA. Apparently, someone from the SGA eliminated seats from the SGA because it said in the constitution that those seats were unconstitutional. Does that make sense to anyone? Because it makes no sense to me. Senseless, I decided to get in the know about the SGA and exactly what it does by logging onto the website (chuckling to myself that I was foolish enough to get the acronym wrong).

Three hours and 11 Diet Pepsis later, I still had no idea what the hell the SGA was all about, not a clue. Then suddenly, I thought I found it. I started reading the constitution. “So… it’s a club.” Still clueless.

On the website there are lots of explanations concerning who and what the SGA is, but no info on why an SGA is needed, what benefits it offers, why your everyday student should even care about Student Government.

The Constitution was kind of like the directions to a stereo or a small appliance. The first article is “Name,” wherein it says the name of the Student Government Association: “The Student Government Association.” (Thank you for purchasing a Sony Stereo Unit – they have to print that so you remember what you bought.) Again with the disappointments, I thought that the “Name” section was going to reveal a super secret name for the SGA, but no, it’s just SGA. Even the Samaritans were more thoughtful than that.

From what I gathered on the website, the SGA is a club on campus for kids who want to talk about…stuff on campus. The SGA is governed by a UMass Trustee Statement that allows these special students to handle money going to registered student organizations…and that’s about it. If you have a club, the SGA is your governing body. If you mess with the SGA and you’re in the hang-gliding club, well let’s just say it may be a bad hang-gliding season. I know I’m probably missing a bunch of “real cool” stuff that the SGA does and I apologize, but I still don’t know why I should care about this club that I don’t belong to.

I remembered my friend comparing them to high school student council and I grimaced again. Why is everyone getting so upset about a club? Did any of the girls in the Baby Sitters Club get this upset? I don’t think any of those girls did anything to warrant the submitting of statements to newspapers or the participation in protests.

I propose that we dismantle this SGA and ALANA and all of those government-type clubs and just submit to me as Grand Pubah of Student Body. As Grand Pubah, I will dissolve any and all RSOs that I see fit. No more Republican Club being all “white male” in my Campus Center, no more “Radical Student Union” eating soy and getting rowdy. The Caribbean Dance club or whoever is always in the Campus Center Auditorium can stay because I like their style; no politics, just Caribbean dance. I am serious about these changes. If the SGA and ALANA can’t get along and make decisions together, then I’ll make them by myself. I represent enough groups on my own: I’m gay, a former-catholic, my sister was the president of the foreign language club, and I have some Republican cousins in New Hampshire. I have you all covered.

The bottom line is this: We’re in college; this is not the real world. Jared Nokes is making a huge statement on behalf of the SGA whether everyone agrees with him or not. That statement is one imbued with sickening racism and elitism. But then again, it’s just a club. Someone very funny said, “Politics is Hollywood for ugly people.” I imagine that there are many attractive members of the SGA, so I’m not sure if that statement applies to them. But after looking at the archives of the boring agendas and minutes and after looking around at the UMass campus unchanged in the three years I’ve been here, student government seems to be an amusement park for the devoted lethargist.

Thomas Naughton is a Collegian columnist.

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