Today I went to and spoke at the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) meeting. I was asked to come by a friend who wanted to inform the Senate about Governor Patterson’s proposed flexible tuition plan. Myself and a number of others have been organizing around the issue and we thought that we should appeal to any sympathetic body.
I began by asking how many Senators were members of the Student Advocates party. The reason for doing this was to highlight the name of the party, not the party itself. I (clumsily) segued into how the Senators at large should be “student advocates” and represent student interests. The point was largely rhetorical and meant to highlight a very obvious but overlooked part of student governance. It rubbed some people the wrong way, though. Why? I don’t fully understand.
Whatever the student party, whatever the university, whoever the senators- the point stands firm. The USG should represent the students. Higher tuition is not in the interest of the students. Lower budgets are not in the interest of the students. Private encroachment of a public facility is not in the interest of the students. This is a no-brainer.
Despite this, though, I was met with blank stares. A few interested souls approached me afterward for more information and to meet with me in the future. The vast majority, however, seemed to be glazed with disinterest and boredom. Lovely. It was silly of me to think that much would come from tonight, really. Representation is hardly ever truly representative. The real power is going to come from the students. From below. Representing themselves.