Croyism and Incompetence

Over the past semester, The Vermont Cynic staff has worked hard to improve the quality of this publication in order to better represent the intellect, culture and spirit existing on UVM campus. As Editor in Chief I have repeatedly and purposefully ignored covering the improper and often unprofessional management of the Student Government Association, fearing that its leadership might seize our club space or sanction us. But given current events, I as well as my colleagues at The Cynic can no longer in good conscience sit quietly. Every person who actively participates in student clubs, Greek life, sports and extracurricular activities is being severely shortchanged by the most powerful student group on campus -the Student Government Association. There have been a few notable exceptions where the SGA helped promote the overall vitality of the community; helping Katrina victims, getting vending machines in the library, working long and hard hours to give funding for deserving student groups, or facilitating discussions with angry Burlingtonians. However, when looking to the current leadership, or lack thereof, we see nepotism and self-aggrandizement. President Sarah Poirier, as outlined by the SGA constitution, is the CEO of the student government, handling over 1 million dollars worth of student fees each year. Creating an environment in which qualified individuals are discouraged from joining and current members resign frequently, Ms. Poirier has shown her ineptitude as SGA’s CEO. Over the past year close to one-fifth of the members of SGA have dropped out only to be replaced by the first person that applies (no one at SGA would comment on the acceptance rate). The high turnover rates coupled with little competition for vacant senatorial seats reveals the current president’s inability to lead a well-respected and productive organization. Any good leader must strive for higher retention rates of good quality participants in order to reduce the amount of disruption and training time associated with turnover. She has not accomplished this. Although the greatest failure of her tenure will be the upcoming “election,” which currently is a one-candidate race, featuring her boyfriend Seth Bowden, a current member of the Executive Committee whose involvement in the SGA has proven to be unexceptional and relatively short compared to previous candidates. Considering the SGA president receives a $250 a week salary, an all-campus parking permit, a resume boost, and a considerable amount of power, it would seem likely that people would be beating down the doors trying to get the job. Instead, the current leaders of student government have successfully avoided a real presidential race, or any real form of democratic process by establishing an environment that very few want to be part of, or for that matter lead. We at The Cynic underestimated Sarah’s political skills. Time and again she has proven successful in her endeavors. First she easily won the presidency, and now she has almost successfully gotten her boyfriend elected to take her place, driving away other possible candidates, and unfortunately leaving SGA worse then she found it.