By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
The Students’ Association is about to receive a major facelift, and the proposed changes will be announced at Wednesday’s meeting, executive officers told the Optimist Friday.
Althoug he declined to discuss specifics on the record, executive president Jeremy Smith said he had been formulating the idea with the other officers and the chairs of the Advocacy and Constituent Relations committees for the past five to six weeks.
“I want to lose the mentality of, ‘We are on SA; we’re not on SA,'” he said. “There are students planning events and activities for other students. Any group doing that is a students’ association.”
Smith said the proposal centered on two basic concepts: presenting a unified student voice to the university administration and unifying the student body as a whole.
A third aspect to the plan, which will be proposed and discussed Wednesday among the officers, voting members and committee members, is the streamlining of SA’s budget, said Jonathan Wilkerson, executive treasurer.
“The plan will go a long way to cutting wasteful spending,” Wilkerson said. “It will help get groups their money faster. It’s exciting to me.”
Smith admitted his plan was idealistic in that it calls for cooperation from a large number of people. Advocacy co-chair Taylor Hemness agreed.
“When he first presented the plan to me, I said, ‘I like it, but how are you going to do it?'” Hemness said.
SA has not seen a major policy change since the mid-late 1990s, when it switched to the current classes/academic/residence hall representative system.
In the past few years, the governing body has been under growing criticism for neglecting students’ needs in favor of planning activities.
Congress scored a victory when its protests led to a reconsideration of the university’s controversial block tuition program two years ago. It also pushed the Faculty Senate to give students a day off for Good Friday, which was observed for the first time last year.
However, block tuition is becoming a national norm that ACU will not be able to ignore, said Vicki Anderson, leader of the president’s block pricing team; and the Faculty Senate did not act on the Good Friday request until the President’s Office gave its approval.
It’s that impression-where SA’s opinion goes unheeded by the administration-Smith, who has founded his administration upon advocacy, said he is trying to change.
He said he feels the administration will listen more closely to a presentation that accurately reflects the majority opinion of the student body, rather than just the majority of the Student Congress.
“We want to get everyone on the same page,” he said, “which hopefully ill be huge when presenting an opinion on issues like block tuition and department cuts.”