SA elections are onlyn part of larger problem

Friday’s headline, for those of you unfortunate enough to live in Fascist territory, read “NO SA WINNERS … Despite a ballot-counting process which ended at 2:30 a.m., there still are no winners in the Student Association Executive Board elections.”

This year, at least, there truly are no winners. You, the students, who “give” the SA about $48 per year each ($800,000 total) were asked to choose a president from a ballot loaded with ignorant buffoons.

From petty blackmail to abuse of funds, guttermouthed standoffs and a slew of campaign violations, NIU’s “best and brightest” proved to be a crop of dandies unprecedented in student government.

However, like the Hell’s Angels in the 60s and gangs today, they are only symptoms of a larger problem, not the cause. The SA as an organization is one sick beast.

Every year, the SA urges us to get involved and reminds us of the weight of what they do. One of their big selling points is that they “allocate” our money, suggesting that we have some control over it. However, Barbara Henley, vice president for Student Affairs has shown us that she has final judgement and will not hesitate to use it.

Another part of their ageless platform is a vague promise to champion student interests against a sly and oppressive administration. Most of the presidential candidates, and I would venture, a majority of senators, have no idea who runs NIU.

This does not stop them from periodically calling for a protest or Holy War against “da administrashun.” They’re not afraid to speak their mind—even if it happens to be blank at the time.

If they don’t know NIU’s own administration, they almost certainly know nothing about who makes the real decisions—the Board of Regents and the state legislature.

Granted, BOR meetings are not the most exhilarating things to sit through, and Springfield is a little out of the way, but we should at least know who these people are and something about what they’re doing.

While our administrators are partly to blame for our troubles, NIU is affected by forces much larger and uglier than itself.

We are dependent on state money, and our dear governor and congress have shut off the valve. This has a nasty ripple effect that will hit you as a tidal wave. Tuition will rise while classes remain stagnant or dry up.

This is partly our fault. As one state senator pointed out, most of the state’s population lives in Northern Illinois, yet legislators only hear from downstate citizens and others who are indifferent to higher education.

Voting makes a difference. Just ask Alan Dixon and others who were used to watching cartoons during elections and are now calling in favors and looking for jobs.

Almost every year, like clockwork, the SA is consumed by petty personal squabbles, threats to zero-fund someone, and impeachment attempts. Committees are formed and filled, forests are turned into paper and endless meetings are held. Maybe there is no easy solution, but we could start by cutting the senate by half and allow only registered voters to serve.