A screenshot of the Undergraduate Student Government constitutional referendum flyer emailed to students on Nov. 9. Voting takes place on SOLAR and ends on Friday, Nov. 15. COURTESY OF USG

This year’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) election will be taking place until Friday, Nov. 15. Voting in this election —  just like any election — is important. USG is representing the interests and concerns of our student body, funding student activities and organizing programs. The USG elections will directly impact us, as SBU students, so play your part by voting in the election. 

USG is working to make the organization more accessible and beneficial to students, while undergoing changes that will immensely change the organization’s efficiency. They were made in order to accelerate decision making among the executive council, allowing more people to get involved in student politics and identify more underrepresented groups in the eyes of the student government. 

These changes include: increasing the number of groups protected under the Equal Opportunity, allowing all elections to be won through means of a simple majority and updating the clubs and organizations that are officially recognized by the university. 

The changes implemented by the USG will take place during this year’s election. Although most of these changes will benefit the SBU community, USG’s decision to remove the judiciary branch will rig the system as impeachment power will be delegated to the legislative and executive branches. 

2015-16 Resident Hall Association President and USG senator, Tara Schinasi talked about the importance of having three branches of government and that abolishing one branch would be a “blatant control grab from the other two branches to minimize checks and balances.” 

“Senators only makes smaller parts of our school underrepresented in our student government and only further pushes a popularity contest instead of actual student representation,” Schinasi said. “This isn’t the USG I was apart of and loved. We did what was best for the student body as a whole.” 

Removing the judiciary branch will undermine the integrity of the Undergraduate Student Government. The purpose of the USG is to replicate the practices conducted in the federal government. In a proper student government organization, there needs to be an unbiased buffer in place to resolve any disagreements or surges of power in a particular branch. Abolishing the judiciary branch is a decision that needs to be reconsidered. 

Voting for USG takes a small chunk out of our day, and we don’t even need to go anywhere to do so. We can vote right from our phones or computers by going to the main SOLAR website — if you are on a mobile device, click the settings logo to go to the main site. Then go to “student elections” under the “elections” section on the SOLAR home page and select the Fall 2019 ballot when you are prompted to do so. Based on your grade standing, a short statement will come up for the candidates you can select for the positions you can vote for.  After you choose your candidate, you hit the “submit” button, and you’re done.

Voting for the USG elections is both your civic duty and student responsibility. There is no excuse not to.

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