Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Define "Rolls Over"

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to a post written on The GW Patriot by former SA Senator/EVP candidate Logan Dobson entitled "SA Senate Rolls Over on Executive Appointments." Let me take a second to address a few points, seeing as I was actually in attendance and actually know what took place and why.

The meeting lasted approximately an hour. Almost none of the cabinet appointees faced any questioning at all, much less serious questioning. Every single one of them passed.

This is fucking pathetic.

Fact: The meeting was approximately an hour long
Fiction: Almost none of the cabinet faced any questions at all, much less serious questioning

The reality is that all of the candidates were either qualified or demonstrated a passion for their respective chairmanship positions that these positions need. I can remember at least 3 examples where nominees were drilled with questions about the things they wanted to change about the SA: The nominees for VP Public Affairs, Teddy Dooley, a nominee for JCFS, and Eddie Warton, the SA Rep to the Marvin Center Governing Board.

In each case, the issues raised weren't about their "qualifications", but about their proposals policies they wanted to address. In each specific case, it was because of plans that each nominee had that the Senate-Elect felt were probably too ambitious or vague, such as "improving J Street" or "significantly increasing the quality of advising". Being an over-ambitious Freshman is hardly a reason to have your nomination to the Executive Cabinet blocked.

For each of these nominees, people raised questions about how the nominees planned to implement these proposals, and tried to steer them toward narrowing their focus or centering on things that students really care about, such as focusing on a better program for allocating student space in the Marvin Center instead of the standard "improving J Street". In each case, I felt that the nominees that were questioned were much better prepared after the meeting than before it, and I have confidence that they will do a good job, and I plan to hold their feet to the fire and publicly embarrass them for reneging on their promises if they don't.

I'm not saying that there were people nominated who were unqualified. But I am saying that the senate-elect had no way of knowing that. They could all be fine nominees, or they could all be terrible and run the organization in to the ground. The senate-elect couldn't care less.

I also have a problem with your use of the term "unqualified". No More Tools, remember? "Qualified" should never be the first adjective that the SA should look for in its leaders. Ambition, creativity, and passion are three that are much more important than finding "qualified" candidates. The senate-elect did read over their bios and listened to their platforms. What more did you expect the Senate to do to show that we cared? Ask unnecessary questions of people that clearly have their shit together and everyone planned on supporting, just for the sake of asking questions?

Being an SA senator is not a hard job. If you're not willing to put in an hour reading candidate's information and asking them a goddam question at the senate meeting, you're not doing your job. What happened tonight was an unacceptable lapse in responsibility on the part of the senate-elect.

"Lapse in responsibility", just because the nominees were all approved and people didn't waste time asking questions of people that they already planned on supporting and that had strong platforms already?

Out of 8 candidates for Vice Presidential positions, only ONE of them was asked a question. And it was the candidate for VPPA, one of the more useless of the VP positions.

That, to me, is unacceptable.

So, your problem isn't with the nominees themselves, but with the Senate not asking them enough questions? Even people who were clearly good choices for the positions?

Again, while these people all seem like solid choices to me, some of them will inevitably become complacent next year, at which point the Senate should absolutely go after them for not follow through on the things that they promised. However, to act like the Senate didn't do it's job because they didn't ask enough questions for your liking is a little ridiculous.

1 comment:

Ethan said...

As Chairman of the Marvin Center Governing Board, I'd welcome any ideas of how to better allocate space to student orgs. Feel free to email me at
Ethan Elser