It was on the eve of September 3, 2016 when the Lasallian community was introduced to a controversy that would rouse the political consciousness of the students. An anonymous write up containing allegations of corruption involving several members of the University Student Government (USG) circulated online, prompting immediate actions of deflection by the incumbent officers. They were quick to dismiss the accusations as nothing but assertions based on inadmissible evidence, eventually leading the issue to die down.
Albeit lasting only for a couple of weeks, it spoke miles about how the USG’s system of governance views and deals with claims regarding its credibility. As a democratic institution, we fail in our responsibility to hold our elected officers accountable when we are easily blinded by the confidence that our leaders will naturally correct themselves. Ideally, when faced with issues such as this one, the student populace should be anything but complacent, constantly questioning and criticizing the actions of their leaders.
Democracy is not democracy if there are no conflict of interests. While there is no perfect form, it becomes a working democracy when there are active forces of dissent working towards molding more responsible and liable student leaders. This means not settling for anything less than what we know the student government can best deliver. That is to say that brushing these kinds of heavy allegations under the rug is a blatant disregard of the truest essence of democracy. Thus, if issues similar to corruption allegations arise, this tells us one thing: there is a need for democracy to work as it should.
Couple in the fact that the default state of the majority is apolitical, only to be immediately political once issues arise, making it even harder for us to correct the declining system. What we have is an inconsistent political climate that becomes merely selective on when it wants to be involved with issues concerning their benefit. With leaders failing to do their job due to our conscious choice to not voice out our concerns, this sets precedence to a more vicious cycle of destructive disinterest and leadership, paving the way for a university that is anything but student-centered.
The USG and the student body have a shared responsibility to uphold democracy in its best form within the four walls of the University at any given moment. Every opportunity wasted to call our leaders and ourselves out leads us further astray from fully realizing our potential of becoming a genuine student-centered University. At the end of the day, it all depends upon us. It will always be our choice to stay silent and purely be spectators to a flawed system that devalues disruption and growth. Or we could stand on the side of action and awareness, choosing the best version of leadership no matter how difficult it may be to construct.
With the 2017 General Elections upon us, the call to respond to our shared responsibility has never been any louder. We are on the brink of striking the perfect balance between student cooperation and diligent leadership, and there is no better time than now to leap and shape the future with our own hands.