Editorial Board

Following verdict of Evangelista investigation, Student Association needs to strengthen itself if it wants to be taken seriously

After three postponements of a verdict, Syracuse University’s Student Association can finally put President Eric Evangelista’s investigation in the past and make efforts to turn its semester around.

The organization could certainly use a face-lift after its bumpy run this semester. On Tuesday, Evangelista was found in violation of several SA bylaws after a nearly three-week investigation by the Judicial Review Board that examined Evangelista’s decision to nominate a student to a cabinet position without first opening applications to the student body.

As a consequence, Evangelista is no longer allowed to meet with SU officials without the accompaniment of his vice president and chief of staff. He is also not permitted to confirm candidates to cabinet positions without consulting several cabinet members first, and he now needs written permission, with two-thirds approval from the SA cabinet, in order to send emails to the campus community at large.

Evangelista’s violations of the SA constitution coupled with the Judicial Review Board’s unnecessarily delayed investigation and the fact that the assembly did not meet quorum at its Monday meeting demonstrate the organization’s lack of engagement internally as well as with the student body. During former President Aysha Seedat’s administration, assembly members were visibly invested, and Seedat and her vice president, Jane Hong, actively worked on policy relating to the university community.

But SA’s recent controversies portray the organization as one that has lost sight of its goals. It’s true that Evangelista wronged SA and now must pay the price for that. But the assembly is powered by more than just one person, and the group must pull itself together. A solid first step would be showing up to meetings and making quorum.

It’s mid-February, and soon enough, the end of the academic year will be in sight. SA may not have enough time to solidify concrete policies and carry our wide-scale initiatives, but it can help its reputation by healing itself internally, build up accountability and ensure it is functional enough to effectively serve the SU community.

As the undergraduate student government organization, SA is, in theory, an important asset to the student body. It’s time its members start acting like it.

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