Your voice is powerful, use it

Spencer Gladis Guest Columnist


 “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty,” Thomas Jefferson. 

This powerful quote was intended to be applied to our national government, but can have quite an impact if you employ it to this great university. In this parallel, rather than correlating the House and the Senate to the SDSU Students’ Association independently —we need to bring the other part of our university government into the equation — the administration.

For all intents and purposes the administration can be compared to our national Senate. Composed of a relatively older, more experienced population, the administration is there to aid in policy making. The flaw in this analogy is that in our national government, an act may not be signed into law without passing in both of the legislative bodies. Whereas on the university level, policies passed by SA are strictly under the scrutiny of the President; the same goes for policies created by the administration. 

As tuition-paying students of SDSU, this institution is obligated to serve the needs of its patrons. What are the students to do when the administration loses track of this notion? We turn to our elected officials. But then a new obstacle comes about—what do we do if our elected officials are more committed to the administration than the body they were elected to represent? 

Here is another quote from the same American visionary: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” Jefferson urges constituents to question their governing bodies, to show them that they are not always right and their opinion of what is needed is sometimes clouded. 

A recent encounter with a member of our student government has led me to believe that this might just be the case. As students, we deserve nothing but the whole truth from our elected officials. We are the reason there is a university. We are the purpose of this institution. We pay the bills. There should be transparency and honesty when developing plans and making decisions, especially when these decisions will impact students for decades. 

All policies at this university should exist to enhance the college experience for students. This is a critical time for South Dakota State, we are growing faster than anyone could have imagined. With the increase in enrollment we will face new, challenging obstacles and it is essential that students have an advocate, ensuring that our needs are being met. After all, we are SDSU. 

So here is a personal challenge from a student for a student: think for yourself. Stop allowing yourself to be spoon-fed. Challenge the thoughts of others, particularly elected officials and the administration. Express your opinion. Because at the end of the day, you are not only doing a disservice to others when you hold your tongue, you are doing a disservice to yourself.

Spencer Gladis is a pre-med major. He can be reached at [email protected]