Four student senators have decided to resign their positions because they feel that senate is structurally ineffective and thus fails to fully represent the student body. Former senator Chapin Benninghoff believes that if more senators resign, senate will be unable to function, and a new, improved student government will inevitably arise. Other senators do not agree with the reasoning behind Benninghoff, Josh Kaye, Nicole Johnston and Velia Lopez's resignations because they believe structural problems can and should be mended within Senate itself. Are the recent resignations an effective means of protest to the fundamental problems stagnant in Senate? Will these resignations inspire other senators to follow in their footsteps, in hopes of formaing a more responsive and representative student government?
Benninghoff, Kaye, Johnston and Lopez feel that senate cannot effectively restructure itself. The consequences of their resignations may, however, threaten the voices of the student body within the college. If more senators resign, senate will grow weak and may remain weak for an excessive period of time. The establishment of a new student government will take a long time. The four former senators feel that by remaining on committee seats they are preserving the student voice. The only reason the student senate has any power is due to the faculty committee seats they hold. Does the retention of those seats by the three senators make their actions less valid?
Current senators who find themselves unrepresentative of the student body need to take action before more resignations occur. If it means restructuring the senate constitution, then it should be done in the spirit of representing the student body to the fullest extent. Senators should not fear taking drastic steps if they feel that the level of representation on campus is unsatisfactory. Merit issues aside, senate is growing increasingly unstable, considering the 14 resignations since the start of the year. The inconsistency of senators keeping their positions after being elected poses a problem to the student community. Abandoning the present student government may expose the lack of representation on campus, but may in fact threaten the long-term existence of student body representation altogether.
Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 14; February 14,1997
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