LETTER TO THE EDITOR: On behalf of Ethan Fredrick, student body president
November 4, 2015
To the women, students of color and those at the intersection thereof studying at Simpson College,
The student body needs you to lead it.
Simpson faces difficult choices, and I firmly believe students are underserved when their elected representatives are homogeneous. Therefore, I would encourage every woman and student of color to consider running for office in student government.
In the past year and a half, SGA helped cut the college’s budget by close to $3 million.
Senators have investigated student development issues ranging from housing repairs to emergency care for sexual assault survivors.
The student body president and vice-president meet monthly with the college president and cabinet to communicate what students care about.
As the college faces financial stress over the next few years, SGA will play a large role in helping the administration make budgetary changes from staffing and services to new academic programs or extracurricular activities. In short, it matters who serves as a student leader on SGA.
Nearly one in six Simpson students is a person of color. The number of women of color at Simpson has doubled in the past ten years.
However, only one of the last fourteen students to serve as student body president or vice-president has been a student of color. Over half of campus is female, but only one third of elected representatives on SGA are women, and none are women of color.
Of the past ten student body presidents, only one has been a woman. Student leadership does not reflect who students are or that our campus is increasingly diverse.
Historically, students already in student government are elected to be Student Body President and Vice-President.
Common sense programs that benefit students of color and women are put up for debate because members are unsure if it helps “enough of campus.” I see firsthand the effects of a mostly white male senate making value choices.
Members of SGA question the value of “March to End the Isms” and whether SGA should be involved in ensuring that sexual assault is prevented and that its survivors are supported. Every student in attendance at the last Campus Diversity Committee Meeting was a white man.
Many student leaders are hard-working and caring, but in order to best serve our campus, we cannot pretend that we represent the interests of every student.
Of the strongest organizations on campus today, most are led by women or students of color. Latinos Unidos, SARA, Pride, MSA, Sigma Lambda Gamma, the Panhellenic sororities, Simpson Student Media and many more organizations serve students in wonderful ways and are all lead by women and/or students of color.
It is hard to look at other organizations without finding histories of capable female and diverse leadership. There are many effective female and diverse leaders on campus now and, with few exceptions, none of them are on SGA.
To the students reading this, talk to your wonderful peers who normally would not run. Reaffirm their own potential for greatness. We cannot remain content with a senate wherein 40 percent of campus holds 70 percent of the seats.
Simpson College Student Body President 2015
*Students can sign up to run for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential election via email Nov. 23-29. The election will take place Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 via email. Elections for the Senate will take place in April.