Editorial poorly portrays Senate

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

This letter does not represent the views of Senate as a whole. Similarly, last week’s editorial, “Student Senate poorly represents constituents,” does very little to accurately represent Senate as a whole, choosing instead to rely on blanket generalizations and inflammatory language.

While there are certainly some valid criticisms in the piece, particularly regarding abstentions and outreach, I am disappointed at the extent to which things were exaggerated. Senators that may have had a conflicting obligation “didn’t bother to show up,” and any abstention, even valid, was called “lazy.” The allegation that the whole Senate “failed to uncover ... dangerous baggage” in a policy that was the purview of a specific committee is simply ridiculous. This last point is akin to me criticizing a Pillbox staffer for not knowing the particular wording of a News story.

As a Senator, I often hear or read this type of criticism, but in all cases it is those who are infrequent visitors to Senate — likely only attending one meeting — that are leveling it. The statements in the editorial suggest that it too is afflicted by the tendency of the campus community to criticize and generalize based on the contents of one or two meetings, or on individual actions.

Anyone who had come to the few meetings before the one in question would have been aware of the ongoing discussion of the Students’ Rights Policy, which started sometime before winter break. They would have also been aware of the active recruitment efforts by several members of Senate, resulting in two promising H&SS candidates. Furthermore, they would be aware of the ongoing efforts to contact constituents about issues and solicit feedback.

I encourage people, especially those who intend to write about Senate, to become more involved or at least attend more frequently. I hope that they will then witness for themselves the questioning, thoughtful discussion, and lack of abstentions that normally characterize Senate and be able to present a more accurate portrayal.

Gaining a familiarity with Senate will allow fairer and more constructive criticisms in the future, which will allow Senate to move forward with its efforts to serve the student body.

Justin Berka