On whose behalf are they speaking?

Students, did you know that you don’t get to vote for who represents your interests at Student Senate? All one needs to do in order to become a member of MCTC’s Student Senate is to attend three consecutive meetings, in addition to having a 2.5 GPA.

Alas, you are not alone. This is the case for most community colleges who struggle to find enough members with the time and interest to perform as student representatives.

Most community and technical college Senates are happy to have as much imvolvement [sic] as possible,” said Geoffrey Dittberner, former President of Minnesota State College Student Association.

“Also for most two-year colleges, the process of becoming a Senator is generally an uncontentious, open ,and relatively simple process,” said Dittberner.

However, is this a fair trade off? We think not.

Legitimacy is crucial to the nature of voting bodies, since it is the foundation of their authority. Representatives must be voted in by those whom they intend to represent, otherwise we cannot be certain that such authority is justified.

“Elections promote buy-in and demonstrate an individual’s commitment to the purpose of the organization, not just their own special interests,” said Dittberner. “Just as the founders of our nation created a republic in part to avoid mob rule, so, too, should Senates have a way to avoid the disruption of a deliberative government.”

Instead of simplifying the process to become a senator, perhaps a better approach would be to incentivize students to participate in the rich political life our campus has to offer, showing them that investing the time and energy is valuable.

Of course, there are those students who simply do not have the time and energy to become senators themselves, but voting for a fellow student to speak in their behalf is more than sufficient, and even more important.

Perhaps our institution could provide a more substantial support to our representatives, and take some responsibility for the current state of apathy students seem to be in; encouraging students to participate more actively in extra-curricular activities.