Another falls away

Resignation of SA vice president stirs reflection

On January 30, 2014

With another Student Association executive announcing his resignation in just five months, apathetic feelings seem to be the default. This situation, however, commands a moment of reflection.

Lyle Selsky is the second SA executive who was elected during the Spirit Party sweep last year to resign, rousing perhaps warranted suspicions over the party and SA in general. The circumstances surrounding this announcement, however, and the impact it will have, are worth approaching with an open mind. Selsky leaves his office with high expectations for the next vice president, as opposed to the low bar left by the dishonorably deposed former president.

The now former vice president cited family issues for his resignation, and we feel confident that there were not any other extenuating circumstances.

Weariness and distrust, though, are expected after such a tumultuous and unstable year, culminating in yet another changing hands of power.

The common refrains calling for greater oversight of the association and greater prudence in our voting practices are worth revisiting. Reforms are needed, but Selsky left a legacy of earnest dedication to his post. His resignation should be seen for what it is - the loss of an asset, a positive influence on a party wrought with dysfunction, but indicative of fundamental issues in the institution and the way it has been approached.

The very notion behind SA is ambitious - giving a handful of students, elected by fellow students, control over $4.1 million without oversight will inevitably lead to some problems. This experiment into the furtherance of the democratic process is more than just student control over student funds, though.

This resignation reminds us of the responsibility we share. Voting must be taken seriously, and candidates' credentials and intentions honestly interrogated. Those elected need to be held accountable. Additionally, candidates should assess whether they truly feel capable, and whether they are able to give the position the dedication it calls for. The nature of yearly elections makes SA unstable enough already, without the threat that these precautions are not being taken.

This is more important than $4 million, a few seasonal concerts or the numerous events SA puts on for the student body. SA creates the conditions of possibility for us as a student body to engage in a political process not entirely dissimilar to its larger manifestations at city hall, Albany or Capitol Hill. Lest we fail to take seriously our duty as citizens to those institutions, let us honestly approach this microcosm of empowerment.

Reforms are necessary and should be explored. SA again enters uncertain territory, with a permanent vice president yet to be announced and more ambitious proposals likely stifled for another semester. This is the reality surrounding our elected office, but appreciation for the hard work and sincerity with which Selsky approached his office, and with which he leaves, is needed as well.

We wish Lyle all the best as he addresses personal issues today and professional aspirations in the future.



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