A call for recognition of achievements

Overall, I have been impressed with the journalistic integrity of the Cynic this year as compared to that of past leadership, and I sympathize with the constant pressure to maintain and increase readership.However, I have become increasingly disappointed with the constant harping on internal SGA Senate politics and head counts when there are so many issues our governing body is tackling and major student concerns that we, as a campus community, must grapple with.The article “More Senators Leave SGA” was the pinnacle of my dismay. Over the past semester, the SGA has had a pivotal role in reducing the cost of summer tuition, increasing the representation of traditionally marginalized populations and contributing to campus and citywide climate change initiatives-and the Cynic has chosen to focus on who is coming and going among senators?Frankly, that is insulting to members of our student population, who deserve to read about the status of important issues and, more importantly, have their meaningful work and legitimate concerns reflected in your headlines.The question is worth asking yourselves: How does conveying the Senate’s semesterly makeup contribute to the general student experience and what makes it newsworthy?Clearly, students have the right to know when and why their Senate leadership is changing. We have lost integral members of the SGA governance and I do not wish to conceal that.However, it is quite common for the SGA to lose a quarter of the senatorial body between semesters, which is why mid-term elections were proposed last year and are being executed this year as a more democratic way to keep the Senate populated.As the hinge between the Senate and the student body, I have been thoroughly impressed with many student initiatives that have gone uncovered by the Cynic.The SGA Academic Affairs Committee worked with Continuing Education to make summer classes more affordable, gaining approval from the Board of Trustees to reduce summer tuition by 15 percent nearly two months ago.Student governments dream of being able to tackle affordability issues, and students stand to benefit from this knowledge much more than who from Senate is studying abroad this semester. Similarly, the student body at large has been a powerhouse of activism and grassroots change in ways that have slipped under the radar as far as the News page is concerned.Students from across campus have been contributing positively on everything from the Campus Master Plan Committee to the Meal Plan Advisory Board, with more administrators asking for student representation on decision-making bodies than ever before.Students have put together professional, succinct documents calling for investment in carbon neutrality and divestment from the Coca-Cola Corporation through the trustee-led Socially Responsible Investment Workgroup.Powershift, Step It Up 1 and 2 and Focus the Nation, all largely student-led, are making waves on campus and in the community to engage political leaders and scholars in the important work of curbing Vermont’s carbon emissions.It is a travesty that no one on your staff has, thus far, sought out these dynamic stories.It is easy for a newspaper to focus on drama, disputeand disruption.My only request of the Cynic is that it provide a deeper understanding of this constant struggle truly worthy of student readership rather than remaining stubbornly centered on personality politics.Respectfully,Kesha RamClass of 2008SGA President