WSGA charges students but lacks a level playing field – The Washburn Review
Senate Bill 21-22 # 067 has so far been a failed bill aimed at correcting an inconsistency in the Washburn student government eligibility requirements. As it stands, to become a Senator in the Student Senate, one must, among other things, be enrolled in at least six credit hours at Washburn University. At first glance, this seems fair enough. Students, as the name suggests, should be academically engaged with the university. Those with less than six credit hours are enrolled in few courses, which apparently makes it justifiable to bar them from joining the Senate.
What this system neglects to take into account, however, are student activity fees. The Student Activity Fee is a $ 55 payment that all students, even those with only one credit hour, must pay. This payment is used to fund the Student Senate, which the Senate uses to help organizations plan events and purchase clothing. From there we can begin to see the problem: Students with less than six credit hours donate money to the student government, but they are not allowed to participate in that government. Senate Bill 21-22 # 067 aims to correct this.
The bill in question offers a simple solution: lower the credit limit from six to three. A previous version of the bill lowered the limit to one, but since it is extremely difficult and possibly impossible to sign up for a credit hour, this has been changed. This would solve the apparent problem of “no taxation without representation” and make the Senate more open to new members. However, the Senate majority twice voted twice to overturn the bill. Most of the opposing arguments can be categorized into three distinct categories: high standards, non-students, and lack of demand. This article will show how none of these arguments are valid and how the Senate should put this bill back on the table and vote yes.
The “high standards” argument is the idea that we need to make sure we get the “best of the best” in student government, and that those with less than six credit hours are not the “crème de la crème”. cream ”. This is a silly position to take, because it is based on an absurd assumption: those with less than six credit hours are somehow unable to make good decisions for the good of the school. Not only is it quite elitist, but it also smacks of the idea of “high quality votes”.
Recently in Hong Kong, election laws were passed to change who can run for office and who can vote to ensure that the Chinese Party remains in control. The excuse they use is that they intend to make sure the votes are of “high quality”. Only those who are part of the one-party system are able to make good decisions. Only those with six or more credit hours are able to make good decisions.
Now it can be argued that if so, those with less than six credit hours are perfectly smart and wise, they just aren’t enough on campus, or engaged with college, or aren’t “real students.” And therefore are not wise enough with regards to college in the same way as a six credit hour student. This brings us to the “non-students” argument.
The “non-student” argument, as described above, is the argument that those with less than six credit hours are not aware of or understand the culture or student life on campus. Take for example those who are still in high school, taking only one college course but not on campus. Another example would be an auditor taking only one course, but also 80 years old and not committing to campus. This is honestly probably the fairest argument. However, this again assumes something inherently problematic: some students are more ‘students’ than others, and that there is an ideal student that we all aspire to be, and only those who have the ability and the ability. to model such an ideal are allowed to use the money of other members of the student government. This is problematic because it assumes that all the students have to fit in the same bucket, otherwise they cannot be “real students”.
Following this logic, can we say that only those who engage in a minimum of five student organizations can be called “real students?” Or even more extreme, how about excluding students with depression as this has the ability to hinder academic success? Or, on the contrary, only those who are courageous and seek university services to deal with mental health problems are “real students” because they use the university services more and are therefore wiser in the Washburn way?
Obviously, this concept of the “ideal student” to which we should all aspire is wrong. All of Washburn’s students are different and unique individuals, and the fact that some of us are quite different from others is no reason to exclude them from using the money they paid, but rather one more reason to include them.
I admit that, yes, a student who is old enough or young enough will have a different experience than mine. I will also state that a student of color or a student with physical or mental health issues will also experience a difference. But the argument that these “non-students” are not like us, and therefore would do a poor job of representing “ideal student” views, is like saying that these “non-students” are not. not like us, and therefore we cannot adequately represent them. The goal of student government is to represent all the needs of students, not just those precisely like us.
The last argument is the “lack of demand” argument. This argument is as simple to explain as it is to undermine: some have argued that since there are very few students with less than six credit hours, and since none of these students have has never applied to join the Washburn Student Government, this bill will have no effect and therefore does not need to be passed. In this logic, the 19th Amendment, the amendment which was adopted in 1920 and which granted the right to vote to women, should not have been adopted until 1920, and not a year earlier. Simply put, there were too few women fighting for the right to vote, and so allowing them to do so would have had little or no effect. But in 1920, so many wanted to vote that it was time to pass the amendment.
This line of thinking is ridiculous! By this logic also, it follows that if women stop voting or defending their right to vote, we would be perfectly justified to repeal the 19th Amendment! The fact that no one is fighting for their freedom or their right is not a justification for denying them this right. Indeed, maybe the reason we don’t know about their struggles is simply because a right denied to them is the right to fight.
That being said, I am a senator from the Washburn student government and have voted to pass this bill both times when it was raised. The current host of this bill plans to drop it, and it may never be mentioned again for the foreseeable future. If you are a student with less than six credit hours, or any student in general interested in this discussion, please email me at [email protected], I want to hear everyone’s voices whether they disagree with me or not. Thank you for reading me and I wish you a great day.