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Senate appointments must be open to all

Originally published September 17

Student Senate’s first meeting each year is typically boring. New senators are appointed and, well, that’s pretty much it.

Monday’s meeting, however, was the exception.

Student Body President Nick Swiatkowski presented his list of presidential appointments. Each year, the president appoints a handful of students to a variety of committees and boards.

Some of those boards and committees are more influential than others. Perhaps the most important is the Arbitration Board, which has the authority to give students accused of violating student conduct hearings and, ultimately, decide that students fate.

Most years, this is a relatively quick process. This year, again, is the exception.

Minutes after Swiatkowski had presented the list, Senator Candace Esken, Student Body Treasurer Andrew Kerr and a few others questioned the backgrounds of those appointed.

Turns out, all but two of the 17 students appointed are greek, and two of them are members of Swiatkowski’s fraternity. One is a former member of the same house.

Talk about diversity.

We’re not saying greeks aren’t good leaders. In fact, they’re some of the best. But the truth is only three out of 10 students are greek. We’re not saying the list should have had only about three out 10 greek students, but it should have been closer than what it was.

Swiatkowski defended himself both to Senate and the Scout, claiming he made the right decisions and will not be changing any of his appointments.

We insist he reconsider.

He said his appointment list is made up of students he knows and trusts, which is understandable. And most of his appointees are qualified.

However, there are students on campus who weren’t considered simply because they do not know Swiatkowski, and that’s wrong.

It’s time for Senate to re-evaluate presidential appointments. Applications must be open to the public, and more than one person must be in charge of appointing those applications.

It’s as simple as that. Though it may be too late for this year, we’ll be watching to make sure progress is made for next year.

Also surprising and upsetting was that Swiatkowski did not present the list to the entire Executive Board before Monday’s meeting. Though not required, sharing the list with the exec board has become practice in the last few years, and had it happened this year, perhaps some of the issues could have been smoothed out in another forum.

But it didn’t happen.

That’s proof of the clear division that exists among the members of the Executive Board. That division seems to have gotten so bad that even in public or at meetings the group can’t get along.

While we don’t place all of the blame for that on Swiatkowski, we are placing all of the responsibility to fix it on his shoulders.

He is the leader of that body, and though no one on the board answers to him, he must take the first step in repairing the obvious riffs that exist.

The board’s “us versus them” mentality will do absolutely no one any good. It will simply create infighting in Senate, and that, in turn, will mean that absolutely nothing will get done.

Bradley is coming off an excellent year, during which Bradley students led the fight to reinstate MAP grants and Senate was full for the first time in recent memory, to name just two excellent happenings from last year.

We’d like to remind Nick of that, because if he doesn’t take the first step toward fixing the problem and moving forward, we’re going nowhere but backward.

And if that happens, we will place all of the blame on him.

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