As tradition would have it, I always give my Q&A guests a week at the top of the blog in addition to promoting their interview, however, there are times (like when I picked up last Wednesday's Alligator) that the temptation to speak out has arisen. There are two articles in this edition that truly moved me.
The first involved Sen. Jordan Loh's Cingular services bill. I thought Sen. Lindsey Johns' understanding of everyday students' concerns was commendable (Sen. Baker's comment for this article makes me wonder if he's still a GDI?); however, I thought the choice of words of the former Gator Party leader, Sen. J. Clayton Brett were indicative of the overly-bureaucratic SG that the vast majority of the student body has grown to despise. The holier-than-thou attitude that makes a distinction between matters that affect the average student and matters that affect the minority-elite echelon of the student body (e.g. SG). SG is the Student Body Mr. Brett, in fact, any problem that affects the STUDENTS should be a problem that STUDENT GOVERNMENT ADDRESSES.
My Opinion & Yours
Column Discussed: Click Here
First and foremost I want to commend Dan Burroughs for writing an excellent column, even if I disagree with its fundamental cornerstone. Now I can't very well challendge Mr. Burrough's assertion that members of SG feel wrongly-accused when bashed by the Alligator...not after Sen. Brett's blunder-of-the-semester foot-in-the-mouth published comment, however, I would like to challenge Mr. Burroughs on this quote: "all student governments are simply ways to better relationships between students and administrations, while taking a load off administration's shoulders."
Let me expand. Student politics are vague, platforms are generally recycled, mildly altered, but all-in-all, you will never get concrete answers on political ideology insofar as SG parties or mainstream SG candidates go. One huge question mark has always been drawn over the political ideology (or lack thereof) of the Alligator as a newspaper.
In U.S. politics you have papers with different ideologies. If on the NY subway on a Monday morning...Ryan Nelson would probably read the Daily News meanwhle Tommy Jardon would probably read The NY Post. TV stations have set political directions too. I would probably watch CNN, Chris Carmody would probably watch Fox. Some more examples: James Argento would probably prefer the Washington Post to the Washington Times, etc, etc, etc. While liberal papers won't worship liberals and trash conservatives, you can at least catch the bias in the writing...but where does the Alligator stand?
Yes....we all know the Alligator loves IFC/PC Greeks about as much as Charlie Grapski loves Florida Blue Key, but aside from that, what do we really know about this independently owned newspaper that's treated like royalty on the UF campus? They seem to love to trash Student Government, they usually take sides in the elections but never really seem to believe in any elected officials, regardless if they endorsed them or not...it all seems destined to failure and this quote from Dan Burroughs, out of everything I ever read and/or written, I believe, best surmises the true slant, the true ideology, the true bare-bones, underlying, traditional view of the Independent Florida Alligator.
Ok...so what's the problem
Ok, aside from the fact that 'SG budgets $12 million in student blah blah blah', yeah aside from that giant fact and more importantly, Student Government at UF is elected by the students with absolutely no input from the administration and except for Glenda & Sandy, there are no appointments made to student government or its offices by members of the University administration. Furthermore it should be recognized that Student Government is a fully-autonomous governing body and is not either subservient or under the jurisdiction of any faculty and/or administrative body in the University.
Next, it is the mission of the Office of the University Ombudsman (Tommy Howard) 'to better relationships between students and faculty - and - students and the administration, not merely to hear cases involving grievances. It is not. the role of Student Government to act as a mediator between students and the administration, with only few exceptions such as the Student Advocacy Cabinet, the Student Conduct Committee, and a very few others that it could be argued serve in any sort of mediation capacity.
Student Government is the face of the Student Body, it is the political vehicle whereby student's concerns are addressed, so naturally it's rather depressing to read comments such as those made by Gator Party Sen. J. Clayton Brett categorizing problems that affect the general student body as not necessarily affecting Student Government. The fact is, Student Government belongs to the Student Body and Mr. Burroughs column fails to do SG justice, but in my opinion, best-represents the sentiments and the political-bias that his publication has been trying to push for years here at UF.
Good column, but I don't agree with it. Your Opinions?