Bylaw Amendment Controversy
by Monique Williams on Friday, May 4th, 2012
Being a part of the Milton student body, I have realized that there are things that we care about and things that we say we care about. During the past Monday assembly, our former head monitors announced two proposed changes to the SGA bylaws.
The first would make the length of head monitor speeches official, and the second would change the system of ratifying amendments to the SGA constitution so that future changes could be made with a ¾ vote of the SGA council, as opposed to a majority vote of the student body. I do not know how significant these changes are; when I first heard them proposed, I could have cared less.
I barely understood what was being said; I only realized that it was expected that we follow blindly, like sheep, and simply vote ‘yes.’ Although I was slightly affronted by this approach, it quickly left my mind as I was too distracted with bigger decisions like if I could make it to breakfast before my first class.
The matter did not cross my mind again until I saw Martin Page’s (I) email urging us to exercise our rights as students. It was a valid, yet unexpected, point. If we want a true student democracy, we cannot simply hand over all our collective power to a few SGA representatives. These representatives are present to represent the voices of the students, not to speak for us. We already have the means of making changes, regardless of how small, so why don’t we use them?
Honestly, I was never planning on voting for either of these proposals, partly because I did not really understand them and had no intention of trying to do so. It was not until a few days later that it hit me: my lackadaisical attitude was a poster child of the classic ‘all talk, no action’ syndrome. We constantly complain about our voices not being heard by the administration and the faculty, and we often want more opportunities to make changes in our school.
We set aside hours to manufacture long speeches about students’ rights and the need for change, yet we cannot sacrifice a few seconds to go online and vote. How many people ranted on about their ideal head monitors? How many people actually voted for next year’s head monitors? Milton kids fight to have a voice and be heard, but when it really comes down to it I think we just want something to say. Clearly, many of us do not actually care; the voting statistics from the head monitor elections seem to indicate as much. Once we have what we desire it is no longer important.
The SGA should not have the power to vote for these changes only amongst themselves. I do not believe this because I do not value their judgement, but because I trust my own judgement more. I understand that the SGA finds it difficult to depend on an uninterested student body, but it is their role to educate us and encourage us to fulfil our responsibilities, not coax us away from them. In return, it is our responsibility to care.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=3381