Student government elections often mean new
routes to class to avoid the heavy traffic corridors on campus that are even
further clogged with signage and people promoting candidates for
the various positions.
As staff members, we are tasked with ensuring rules are followed,
students are informed, and voting processes are smooth and without
However, what do we do when
our students expand their platforms beyond the campus and into local, state, or
national politics? Political parties are
not an unknown to our student governments, such as at the University of Florida, nor are
votes of support for or dissent against bills and measures in local and state
governments. But do we want our students
to focus only on campus issues? Or should they include local, state, and national
issues in their campaigns that are of interest to or may affect students?
One such example is Amendment 1 in North
Carolina, which if passed, would prohibit same-sex marriage and civil unions
and could have negative effects on domestic partnerships and partner benefits,
even for heterosexual couples. A Duke
University student brought his opposition to Amendment 1 to his recent student government election.
Does your student
government actively engage in local, state, or national politics? How does this engagement influence policies and procedures regarding student governments? Should student governments focus on
campus issues solely, or are those issues far too intertwined with external
politics that it is necessary for them to engage in these higher levels of
is the Program Coordinator, Center for Diversity and Global Engagement at College of Wooster.
Joel Pettigrew is a new professional who already misses school. His professional interests include global engagement, social justice, GBLT issues, and intercultural leadership. Joel received his bachelor's degree in history from Texas A&M University and a master's in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University.