Pipe Dream’s report card is due out in two weeks, but we’re giving our student government its marks a little early. For our representatives’ admirable professionalism and surprising competence during an often trying year, we’ve awarded the Student Association an A-.
The SA earned the grade for simple things like the Readership Program with The New York Times and for managing the “clear and convincing evidence” issue last semester (though it seems like an age ago). The Executive Board should be commended for taking the issue of incorporation and boiling it down to a simple paper-work adjustment. The SA’s allocation process for its $2 million-plus budget was efficient and for the first time in years, had no accusations of prejudice. We only reserve the full A because 1) it would feel weird and 2) the SA hasn’t really generated any notable new ideas moving forward.
We expect even more progress from next year’s E-Board, and we hope the Assembly is more productive than it was these past two semesters.
Importantly, though, we’ve given the SA high marks for what it didn’t do.
Whether it has been racial epithets hurled at Assembly meetings, alcoholic beverages that made their way around SUNY SA conferences or politically motivated student group witch hunts, the news-making actions of the SA in recent memory have often been cause for concern. Katie Howard isn’t flirting with a mayoral campaign. Nobody’s called anyone a shitty welfare group. Of grievances, there have been few.
At least part of the smooth functioning of the organization this year owes to the small scale of its actions. Perhaps realizing that sudden and expansive initiatives have in the past met a chorus of criticism, the SA this year has often limited itself to straightforward, boring matters.
Most emblematic of the SA’s attempts to move forward without betting the house, was moving election balloting from paper to digital form. It was a step in the right direction, but we still feel the SA could have taken it a step further by possibly introducing off-site, online voting. But the SA wanted to do something, and did it, and it worked, weirdly.
Students can also look at two big-name acts, Pretty Lights and Passion Pit, as well. Not to mention, when the flood hit and the Events Center was converted into a temporary shelter, interfering with the Pretty Lights concert, the Programming Board handled the situation with aplomb in moving the show to the Broome County Arena.
Likewise, when campus construction war zones forced the SAPB to relocate Spring Fling, the SA made the best out of a bad situation. Paying $10 for an indoor concert — a concert that would otherwise be outside and free of cost — isn’t ideal, but at least we’re not paying to see someone press buttons on a laptop … or Eve 6. Or Lifehouse.
And let’s not forget that instead of bringing in someone like Snooki, a reality TV star and ridiculous excuse for a human being, they reeled in world-renown astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Not too shabby.
While none of these initiatives are the sort of large-scale, bold visions that will change campus culture itself, perhaps that is for the best, at least for the SA’s popularity. We rarely wrote about the SA this year, beyond programming updates. We didn’t have much to say.
If anything, this year’s E-Board has proven that perhaps not all publicity is good publicity. For them, the best publicity was having no publicity at all.