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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Show up or step down

Published: February 13, 2009
Section: Opinions

Student Union Executive Senator Andrew Brooks ’09 proposed a by-law which would automatically place the issue of censure on the Senate’s docket if a senator missed two meetings without an appropriate excuse. Brooks should be commended for attempting to hold senators accountable for the responsibilities they willingly accepted.

That this by-law even needed writing is deplorable. Running for Student Union Senate implies that the candidate is ready to make a commitment, not only of energy, but of time. That commitment is more than working for better cell-phone reception or two-ply toilet paper in residence halls. Running for Student Union Senate implies that you are ready to show up every Sunday at 7 p.m., rain or shine, midterm or research paper, best friend’s birthday party or CD signing, to represent your constituents. As Brooks himself said, “this is something we all choose to do…it’s in our oath that we will be at meetings.” He is absolutely right.

Some students are already dubious of the Senate’s importance. If the senators themselves do not feel attending meetings is necessary, they cannot expect students to respect the Union or to even consider it as a resource. And further, as Brooks pointed out, the university administration will not take the Senate seriously if the senators don’t.

We hear lots of lofty rhetoric during campaigns. But no matter how committed you are to social justice, your job cannot be done if you do not show up. If a Union senator cannot make it to the third floor of the Campus Center, then that senator should re-evaluate his or her original reasons for running and actual desire to serve. Not attending meetings is not only irresponsible, it is offensive. If you’re not ready to show up, step down.