Editorial / Voices

EDITORIAL: What have you done for us lately?

The loudest voice for social change on Central Michigan University’s campus is telling us that we’re all going to Hell.

Soulwinners Ministries has repeatedly sent boisterous representatives to campus – using less-than-polite language – to spread its version of the gospel and to help “exhort campus ministries to biblical holiness and evangelization.”

While anyone with a message to send is entitled to their right to deliver it, it’s alarming that radical viewpoints – one that most students appear to disagree with – can serve as the predominant voice on a campus of nearly 20,000 students.

College campuses, filled with generations of future politicians and industry leaders, have traditionally served as the breeding grounds for social change. Students, traditionally, have been the catalytic voice for political action.

At CMU, however, we are complacent. It’s time to make a change.

The Student Government Association claims to be the “official voice of the student body.” Monday, as debates begin for the March 31 election, we question the organization’s role on campus.

This year, under Marie Reimers’ leadership, SGA has lent their support for a number of initiatives, including the use of sustainable seafood in dining halls and the extension of operating hours at the Bovee University Center.

SGA also played a role in revitalizing tailgating before football games and increasing the Campus Programming Fund.

Who cares?

As an organization that should be at the forefront of political and social change, the SGA has failed us. As students who have a duty to get involved in meaningful causes, we have failed each other.

Instead of demonstrations or protests about important issues, our students and student leaders have decided to focus on more frivolous ventures. Protest, petition and picketing used to be commonplace on a university campus. Students, and their student government used to make a bigger impact on our daily lives.

Reimers is an avid advocate for LGBTQ rights, but where was SGA during the court trial to end the Michigan ban on gay marriage?

What about when Gov. Rick Snyder cut back on state appropriations?

Where was the student backlash for increasing tuition? What about our campus policy for guns on campus?

In the ’60s, as more students were drafted into armed services during the Vietnam War, student groups took to the streets for change. Students picketed alongside their SGA to voice their concerns and to make a difference.

Where was the support to pull our troops from the war in Iraq or Afghanistan? It’s a concept that seems foreign now.

Over the past few years, the voice of our student body has exerted little influence. Student activism, especially that led by SGA, has been non-existent. Issues of real social change have been largely ignored.

It’s become easy for students to post their concerns to social media and set real demonstrations and pickets aside.  However, tweets and status updates serve more as an expression of identity, rather than an instrument for actual change.

Now, as the opportunity for new leadership arrives at the SGA, it is time to make an impact. Regardless of who takes the reigns of our student government, we hope to see a renewed advocation for change and a willingness to make a real difference.

In the past decade, we, as students, have stood idly by as reforms that hardly impacted the student body traveled through our SGA. Now is the time to redefine the role of our student government, amplify the voice of the students and to make a solid plan for our future.

At tonight’s debate, we want to hear from a candidate who is willing to make an impact. We want someone who can stand up for what we believe in, take action and demand our voice be heard.

We want students there, asking the tough questions and getting involved in student government.

Ultimately, we want a return to the perspective that it’s us who can – and will – make a difference.

13 Comments

  1. Kai Niezgoda, Transcend President says:

    As an active leader of the trans community and member of the LGBTQ community, I strongly disagree with your assertion that Marie Reimers is a lackluster ally to the queer community. Since I came to CMU, Marie has been a staunch supporter of both LBG and trans people. In fact, she has been one of the /only student leaders at CMU/ to consistently validate my trans identity and make an effort to treat my community with dignity and respect. As Chair of the SGA Diversity Committee, she lead legislation to support a trans-inclusive Women and Gender Center, and in her personal life and relationships, Marie is a strong advocate for LGBTQ issues.

    Additionally, your dismissal of SGA’s hard work under Marie Reimers’ administration shows a true lack of understanding when it comes to SGA’s purpose. SGA exists to serve students as well as champion social change. While SGA does not have influence on a state or federal level, the organization is engaged in the very important work of grassroots social reform – building a more equitable society from the ground up. The most recent example of this work is Diversity Committee’s work with RHA to include an LGBTQ-friendly housing option so that no student is placed in an uncomfortable or dangerous living situation.

    If you don’t think that students on this campus are working toward real social change, all it really says is that you are not one of the students tirelessly working toward it. Advocating for more social and political involvement is one thing, but accusing hardworking people and organizations of “failing you” while giving no indication of your own contribution to “meaningful causes” seems pretty sketchy.

  2. So you’re upset that the Student Government Association is doing projects and making changes on campus that directly effect student life? The Student Government Association could easily shift it’s focus to State and Federal politics, but instead we wisely choose to focus our power on advocating for students and making CMU a better place for students overall. Just seems off to me that CMLife would be upset with SGA in the past for not doing enough for students, but when a great administration accomplishes huge student focused projects you criticize them further for not chiming in on the Iraq war (as if it would make a difference). Very disappointing that a group of students chooses to bash SGA instead of publishing one article recognizing the great things the students in SGA have accomplished.

  3. Although your point is understandable – there is no way that SGA would be able to pull that off because it’s simply not their fight. The resistance and efforts should come from the student groups on campus that believe in that right. SGA is the voice of the people, and should be focused on looking at what is best for students as a whole through the University – not through domestic and foreign policy. I’ve heard of plenty student backlash – specifically protesting – through groups such as the Student Environmental Alliance. SGA is not the place for radical social change – that should be on the backs of the organization’s that have that thought process.
    If SGA were to do things like that, there is no doubt that they would receive more backlash than anything – by the students you believe they would be helping – because of a radical agenda, and for promoting their own views.

  4. Andy Les Pahl says:

    Wow, has CM Life run out of things to talk about to resort to mud slinging?

    SGA’s job is to represent the student body as you have stated. They have done so by passing and working towards bills to include progressive changes such as LGBTQ friendly housing.

    You mentioned president Marie Reimers was passing a bill to include sustainable seafood in the dining halls. Many cultures, as I’m sure you are aware of, cannot eat certain foods such as beef or pork. While chicken is available as well as vegetarian options, the inclusion of sustainable seafood will now help give these students, as well as others, more options when it comes to their dining choices.

    As for the call for picketing and marching for causes the editorial board may/may not support, you raise a good point. Where are the students marching for equal pay for women, gay marriage rights, and other causes? They are complaining that other people aren’t doing it. You have to BE the change you want to see in the world, and I can say many members of SGA are doing so. Many of them are passionate about these topics and are pushing at their own level for bills and changes that support these causes. Granted, there are many members who aren’t there for the same reasons, this kind of article is insulting to the ones who are.

    Before making a simple smear article that paints an entire organization as lazy uncaring people, I would kindly suggest that the Editorial Board practices something called “investigative journalism”; where people, who plan to write a piece, go out and talk to people inside and outside the organization to gather more information.

    As for the final parts of your article, I do agree that more students should be involved in the student government and should be actively participating in things like the presidential debate coming up. That could have been the one part of your article that shows an ounce of professional journalism, but instead is met with more slights and sneers at SGA.

    This student here is going to follow your advice and speak out against what he thinks isn’t right. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, and that is fine. But when you have the ability to broadcast to a student body, you should try and project a more educated opinion. I expected better from the editorial board.

  5. Who approved this article? Better yet, who even thought this article was relevant enough to be written?

    Who says there needs to be a ‘backlash, protest, or picketing’ for any issue??? You can still support something without having to go protest or picket and be dramatic.

    And as for Gov. Snyder’s ‘cut back on state appropriations’…. How much does that effect a student at CMU versus the importance of the UC being open later for anyone needing a place to study or run a program?

    You know what I would like to know is how many people from the ‘Editorial Board’ actually went to Michigan’s court trial on LGBTQ rights?

    What have you done as an ‘Editorial Board’ to support and pull our troops from the war in Iraq or Afghanistan?

    What have you as an ‘Editorial Board’ done for the policy of guns on campus??

    I don’t think I have seen an ‘Editorial Board’ supported picketing or protest on campus. Can you explain that? Is it written somewhere that SGA is the only group on campus that has to start this? I don’t think so. Before you point fingers at an association who has done ample things to improve the student body themselves, you might want want to check to see the relevant things you have done.

    I seriously question this Editorial Board’s credibility….. I think the next thing that SGA needs to move to change is the qualifications of the Editorial board.

  6. Woah, slow down there bucko. SGA is the democracy for Central Michigan and the student body– not the country and not the state. I support social change but that’s not their job to waste a year protesting something that you can get a group together and do yourself. So, who cares about more funds for programming and extended UC hours and the various other accomplishments done on campus because of SGA’d hard work?

    I do.

  7. I.Can’t.
    As usual, CM-Life lacks class professionalism. No matter what anyone in SGA does, the college campus is not happy. If they focused on outside issues, people would complain that they didn’t worry about campus. When they focus on campus (which is what they are supposed to do), people complain that we aren’t doing enough for outside issues.
    I would like to pose a question for you: What has CM-Life done for us lately? The last time I checked, all you have done is given students a good laugh at your “journalism”. If you are proud of this newspaper, look at your life and look at your choices.

  8. So wait… are you trying to be the next president of SGA? Because that’s the only reason I could logically come up with that would justify your efforts in publishing this article. Frankly, this type of one sided, crap-throwing journalism is only acceptable in publications that don’t mind losing the credibility of their image.

    Many of the accounts you are describing are examples of issues that extend far beyond the control of CMU’s student governing body.

    Let’s be a semi-professional public servant. Start by delivering UNBIASED facts – and all of them. Give a full account of SGA’s impact this past year (not just cafeteria/seafood initiatives). Though that’s not necessarily something to scoff at. SGA works hard for the STUDENT BODY… and they are doing just that. Give them full credit for their efforts and do not abuse your power as a journalist to sway public opinon based on your own personal agenda. That’s not your job.

    Rest assured – your voice has been heard. And it’s sounding rather ignorant.

  9. Jason Robertson says:

    You are the whole editorial staff and you can’t even spell “reins” correctly before publishing? Why didn’t the person who wrote this have the stones to sign it?

  10. As an SGA representative I can attest that we hardly do anything productive. We don’t have the authority to make actual changes, the only thing we can do is “support” a cause. This organization is not as important as many of the members think it is and to be more involved in real issues that affect everyone is the least we can do.

  11. Classic CM-Life. Everybody else has commented already on points I would’ve brought up, so I’ll leave it at this- what a disappointment.

  12. michmediaperson says:

    CMU students are complacent?

    Maybe, the CM LIFE editor is so far to the extreme left-wing that he and his staff are out-of-touch with the mainstream.

    99 percent of the students don’t show up for all the multicultural and hyphenated American activities that the university tries to shove down their throat.

    Maybe, CMU students are serious about their studies and want to get a great job upon graduation.

    The paper has never been as left as it is today.

    And, today’s young people everywhere are so wrapped up on their smartphones, video games, computers, twitters, that they don’t pay much attention to anyone else.

    • michmediaperson@yahoo.com says:

      Yes, CMU students are complacent and most of your statements further point out that complacency. It’s surprising to see you agree with and argue for an point made in an article. Kudos!

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