The most recent ASMSU Senate meeting painted a poor picture of MSU’s student government. At the March 10 senate meeting before spring break, members of the ASMSU Senate and executive team resorted to unprofessional bickering instead of holding a professional and productive meeting. The meeting was composed of inappropriate exchanges, expletives and uncalled-for interruptions. While there are a handful of direct quotes that could be cited to illustrate the audacity of certain comments, that would place the blame on individuals, which is not the intent here. The unprofessional disagreements throughout the meeting highlighted a bigger problem within the organization: a significant portion of ASMSU was not working as a cohesive unit and it was clearly hindering productivity at the meeting. If our elected student officials cannot maintain an acceptable level of professionalism and restrain from using profanities during a public meeting, students should be concerned. After three years of working in several student-led organizations and being the Exponent editor this past year, I fully understand the challenges that accompany student leadership and working with fellow peers and classmates. But, being students does not exclude anyone from behaving in an appropriate manner — especially when students are representing an organization much larger than themselves. The debate itself during the meetings was not the issue — ASMSU representatives should be debating issues as they are making important decisions, but the problem revolved around the lack of professionalism during the meeting. The thrust of the argument revolved around “2016-B-03 Revisions to Article 2 of the ASMSU Bylaws.” There were disputes surrounding the quality of the edits, the reasoning behind edits and the interpretation of various edits. Senate ended up passing the bill by one vote.
The members of ASMSU are tasked with a great responsibility. In addition to being students, they represent the student voice — an undoubtedly difficult and important task. Through my work with ASMSU, I’ve gotten to know a majority of the students and I truly believe that every student involved with ASMSU is earnest and hard-working. The organization is full of exemplary students who are bursting with charisma, ambition and a love for MSU. ASMSU as a whole has made great strides in the right direction this year as there have been a variety of headline worthy resolutions passed. While the senators might have made terrific accomplishments individually and as a whole, that progress is mitigated by their inability to work together when it matters — which is during public senate meetings. The meeting was not conducive to success and it cast all of ASMSU in a negative light. The only people in attendance at the March 10 meeting were the Exponent news editor and me, and because of that, I feel obligated to share what occurred. Just because “no one” is watching doesn’t mean ASMSU officers should resort to unbecoming behavior. The senators and executive team should hold themselves to the highest of standards at every senate meeting. ASMSU senators are elected to represent the student voice and they should not lose sight of that goal based on disagreements that turn from professional to personal.