We All Have Work to Do

Estrada, Student Contributor

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Student Government is “incredibly tense” and stressful for those who can become consumed by it.

But it’s also a place where everyone has their own agenda. Their own intentions—for themselves or for their respective committee or organization. That’s what became clear, at least to me, on Wednesday, December 5th in Sill Boardroom.

My agreement and contribution to the first amendment to the Financial Bylaws that passed was because I do believe that SAUR should be in equal standing with the Executive Committee and all other operational groups along with Projects Committee. We both do important concrete work meant to improve the quality of our time here, at Juniata… And when Policy asked to be included, it was surprising. Especially, because it seemed like, when the idea was alluded to, not everyone was in full support.

I understand that not everything was handled in the best professional or respectful manner. Not everything goes according to plan in Student Government or in Executive Committee.

I’ve been in Student Government since my Freshman year. I’ve participated in it as a member of SAUR ever since. I can speak to the history between SAUR and Student Government quite closely. Historically, SAUR’s standing has been neglected. Historically, SAUR’s initiatives have not been supported by Student Government. When I say this, I mean that SAUR’s initiatives in response to incidents on campus or issues in our society have not been publicly supported by Student Government: the National School Walkout in protest of gun violence, the initiatives in response to the tension of the #BlackLivesMatter movement on campus, the tension during Trump’s Presidential Election, among others. These initiatives were not publicly supported by Senate nor by Student Government.

It’s hard for me to believe that Senate members believe in SAUR’s mission and importance when their actions don’t demonstrate that… When these events haven’t been promoted across the different officer class groups, the committees, across the different student organizations.

It’s hard for me to believe when these events haven’t been attended by members of Executive Committee or Student Government. It’s hard for me to believe that Senate members truly understand the SAUR’s mission and importance when the issues that SAUR tries to address is not discussed nor addressed in Student Government.

On the last Student Government meeting of last semester, my members walked out because of this exact constant fight… that has occurred since the founding of SAUR. I don’t blame them, I would’ve walked out too… Such a long struggles takes a toll on a student advocate in SAUR.

And to then be asked to change the time for the majority of Student Government… It is the most ironic thing to me.

It is this exact undermining that we try to fight every day… I’d expect more from Senate than to undermine one group for another.

I believe that there’s more to being a senator or an officer in our Senate than what it actually is right now.

These positions are supposed to be for the individuals who sincerely care for this college, who are honestly willing to work for a college that is geared for the success of every student, who care for every student despite their identity. Most importantly, this position is for those students who strive to make this college open and comfortable for every individual and isn’t afraid to engage in the tough talks about the “touchy topics.”

Nevertheless, this is what I feel we do not do in Student Government. We don’t address the latest incident. We do not make clear to the general student body the type of behavior we do not condone. We do not make a stand when the time calls for it. And when we do choose to do so, I hope it’s not too late.

To those student senators who are genuine, I thank you. I appreciate your support to the cause not just in the moments where it is needed the most, but throughout the year as well. And I in no way meant to offend… Thank you and please don’t stop…