My name is Michael Goodgame, and as the elected President of next year’s Student Assembly,
I would like to address points made in a recent Inklings article regarding the way in which SA elections work and the function of SA at Staples.
For starters, consider this: What if Inklings executive positions, such as Executive Editor and Web Editor, were voted on by the entire student body? Would that result in the most qualified and hardest working candidates for the jobs?
Probably not. The 1700-plus students that attend Staples generally have no idea who works the hardest at Inklings and who has put in the effort necessary to be in an executive position. Only Inklings staffers could possibly know who is best fit for the work. School-wide elections in this case would turn into a popularity contest based on name recognition and the very best editors could be left out of the very best positions, resulting in a worse newspaper.
It is the same with the Student Assembly. In May, when we held elections for the Executive Board, the 40 members of SA cast their votes for the members of the group that they had seen working hard within the Assembly and had demonstrated leadership and contributions to both the SA and the school. The student body does not see these hallmarks of what it takes to be on the Executive Board, and had the elections been school-wide, the deserving members may not have been voted in. The members of SA voted for the people that they wished to lead them and, specifically, for the President, the person they wanted to dictate meetings every Tuesday evening. Frankly, the student body does not have to deal nearly as much with the President and the rest of the Executive Board as the Assembly members do, and it would be ineffective and irrational to hold elections outside of the actual group.
One might argue that while Inklings is a newspaper, Student Assembly is a form of government and should therefore take into account the votes of the people. This happens already. To have a position at all on SA, you must be elected by the members of your grade. It’s a bit like the House of Representatives; each member is elected by the citizens of his or her state, and then the Speaker of the House is elected within the organization to preside over the meetings. This may be where the confusion lies; next year, I will by no means be President of the student body – there is no president of the student body. I will be the President of an assembly of students voted upon by their peers to represent the views of the students at Staples.
This leads into the purpose of Student Assembly, which is to provide an adequate representation of the views of students at Staples to the Collaborative Team in efforts for students to have a say in how their school is run, along with sponsorship and organization of events like the Recycling Campaign and the 5K Run in the Sun that benefit students and the community as a whole. Collaborative Team is a consortium of administrators, teachers, parents, and students who decide how the school is run. The SA President and Vice President are the student representatives.
Student Assembly has always urged other students to give us input on any issue at Staples to take to Collaborative Team. The positions we hold there are valuable, and the views of students are taken very seriously. So, if you have an idea, a question, a concern – let us know. That is what we are here for.
I would like to make it clear that I am not saying Student Assembly is perfect. Publicity has been a flaw for the past years, and that has led to the general feelings of indifference towards the organization. For this I personally apologize, and I pledge to revamp the way SA communicates to the school next year. Inklings will hopefully play an instrumental role in this exposure.
I would also like to add something about the way Inklings conducted polling research from the cafeteria for opinions on the SA. I have doubts about such polls, because they often result in mob-like conformist results – students were probably tempted to vote with their friends simply because everyone else was playing along. This, I believe, is a main reason the polls showed such overwhelmingly unsupportive results for SA in Isaac Stein’s article. It may not be my place to offer a solution, but I urge the Inklings staff to come up with a less skewed way to find data.
Finally, I would like to congratulate my fellow Executive Board members for the 2010-2011 school year: Spencer Adler ‘11 as Vice President, DJ Sixsmith ‘11 as Treasurer, Courtney Garzone ‘11 as Secretary, and Ned Hardy ‘13 and Jordan Rubin ‘13 as the Public Relations Officers. You will hear from us again.