Staff Editorial: To the New USG Representatives

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Staff Editorial: To the New USG Representatives

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In the current political climate, America is more alert than ever to threats to its democracy. This same scrutiny should apply not only to the country’s highest offices, but also to everyday, local functions, including the newly-elected members of Fordham University Lincoln Center’s United Student Government. While The Observer congratulates the new representatives, it is important to be cautious and skeptical of one’s leaders. The highest responsibility of an elected official is always to their constituents. Their constituents in turn are responsible for holding their representatives accountable. At Fordham, this should be no different. To that end, The Observer has compiled suggestions and expectations for the new student government that reflects the opinions of the editorial board and echoes the concerns of the larger student body.

For our new USG officials, there is no greater duty than being an effective, efficient and expedient way of letting the administration know of the students’ concerns, and we expect nothing less from them. When a student feels the need to reach out to the administration to enact change, it can be difficult to know exactly where to turn. As a result, one issue has plagued the USG in the past: the incredibly nebulous relationship between the USG and the student body. Many students are unclear as to what the responsibilities or duties of the USG even are, which indicates general confusion regarding the scope, function and accessibility of the USG. Some don’t even know who the members of the USG are, a telling sign of the institution’s lack of involvement in the daily lives of its students. Because of this, many are advocating for more opportunities to get to know their leaders. Some have noted that the only time that they ever see members of USG are when they are campaigning. Obviously, this should not be the case.

However, the lack of communication goes both ways. USG cannot carry out the will of the student body if Fordham students do not provide input or are simply unable to do so. Clarification and simplification of avenues of communication between students and USG are necessary, and often this hinges on simple advertisement. USG can do great things for Fordham, but it amounts to nothing if we are unaware of exactly what our representatives are able to achieve—and how we can reach them in the first place. Observer members have suggested a well-advertised “town hall” setting to be conducted on a regular basis to maintain a dialogue between USG and its constituents.

Moreover, many on the Observer hope that campus facilities will continue to improve. An increase in gender-neutral bathrooms will certainly serve the entire community well, and deserves serious consideration. The return of the New York Times to campus newsstands would also be met with great approval. At the risk of simply adding to a laundry list of gripes, many at the Observer would also appreciate a revisit of Fordham dining service policy, as it has the potential to be more inclusive to all types of diets.

In short, it is clear that the Fordham student body’s expectations for its new leadership are high. As we keep our American democracy under close watch, so too do we look ahead to our student democracy with cautious optimism. We wish the best of luck to the new USG representatives in the coming year and await the positive, productive change we hope they will effect. Pool table or no pool table.