Editorial Board

Incoming SA leadership should balance new initiatives with improving public perception

Ally Moreo | Photo Editor

Incoming SA leaders James Franco and Angie Pati have set attainable goals for their administration but should focus on how the university community views SA as well.

The 60th legislative session of Student Association saw highs and lows that can be used as building blocks for the next administration to boost the organization’s legitimacy and give it the positive perception it should receive from the campus community.

Incoming SA President James Franco has acknowledged the pitfalls SA has faced this academic year, including its inability to meet quorum on several occasions and a Judicial Review Board investigation into current President Eric Evangelista’s bylaws violations. It’s essential that Franco and Vice President-elect Angie Pati understand that the organization needs a public facelift and that they must be the ones who work to restore SA from the inside out.

SA’s internal restoration must begin with making the organization a cooperative environment that encourages involvement. When assembly members don’t come to SA’s weekly Monday meetings, they’re missing out on opportunities to maximize their roles as elected leaders of Syracuse University’s undergraduate student body.

Despite this session’s pitfalls, SA has done some highly respectable work under the leadership of Evangelista and Vice President Joyce LaLonde, which includes establishing a program that provides menstrual products in several on-campus restrooms and launching a bike share program.

This academic year, SA also issued a report about mental health resources at SU, passed a bill urging the SU administration to name the university a “sanctuary campus” and extended Bird Library hours during midterms week.

The current SA leadership has certainly not fallen short in setting forth productive initiatives. Rather, it has fallen short in earning a positive perception from the campus community. Franco and Pati could both continue and improve the initiatives implemented by the 60th session while working to improve the organization’s reputation.

Restoring SA’s reputation will require hard work from Franco and Pati. The pair must act as leaders and take the blame for any pitfalls the organization faces moving forward. They must learn from Evangelista’s missteps and have a thorough understanding of the bylaws to avoid confusion and investigations.

Ultimately, they must not forget the fundamentals of their positions and that they are elected officials in the public sphere who should expect to be held accountable for their actions.

Franco’s acknowledgement that the current session of SA, which he served as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, demonstrates that he’s cognizant of the organization’s shortcomings. This recognition should fuel Franco and Pati as they make strides to restore SA from the inside out.

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