(OPINION) A Student Government, If You Can Keep It
Updated: Jan 10, 2020
Contributor: Jack Carlson
The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) is the
undergraduate student government of Michigan State University.
ASMSU, like any other student government, was founded upon the principle of representing the students of Michigan State. But given its reputation of being a nakedly partisan platform for leftist advocacy, it cannot claim to be a representative student government.
Having become a plaything of progressivism, ASMSU has walked away from its intended principles of representing the campus it serves. It is what it has chosen to be; a collective voice for leftist change, with minimal, if any, representation of conservative students.
Upon being elected last semester, conservative leaning General Assembly members faced immediate criticism for being conservative. This presents the obvious problem that members are being openly criticized for their political beliefs in a body that supposedly values a diverse range of opinion.
The source of this problem even extends to MSU alumni, people who presumably have better things to do then harassing conservative representatives.
Moreover, backlash has come not only from students, but from fellow representatives and other affiliates. Many of these ASMSU affiliates have a strong prejudice against conservative individuals, showcasing it publicly in their position and on social media.
Of course, any member of ASMSU should be subject to criticism. After all, they represent the interests of students. But the overwhelming eagerness certain ASMSU members display in calling out their conservative peers for personal ideologies is not only shameful, but a reminder of how little they value differing opinions. There is a double standard of tolerance towards conservative individuals with accepting, evening just listening, to their ideas.
For instance, a bill passed last semester contained a section mentioning one of The Morning Watch’s own members.
The bill stated, “Incidents of disdain and hostility toward some students because of their political persuasions. For example, an MSU student’s assertion of being treated demeaningly by her peers (who might be affiliated with ASMSU) because of her conservative political persuasion and her affiliation with The Morning Watch.”
It is astoundingly sad that ASMSU has reached the point at which legislation must be passed to prevent what should be obvious: harassment of members because of their political beliefs and associations is intolerable.
However, because frivolousness and conservative bashing are not against any particular ASMSU policy, the problem has persisted, demonstrating an unequal treatment of conservative students.
Ignoring this problem is to be complacent in the targeted harassment of conservative students. And the collective efforts from conservative students to make progress in ASMSU, though undeniably honorable, have done little to advance them beyond being marginalized. This means that the solution to these issues rests in having students within and outside the student government advocating for change.
Although ASMSU strives to be “nonpartisan,” it faces a choice. It can either openly invite conservative minded students to run for positions in order to achieve a greater diversity of opinion or remain where it currently stands as an unfairly biased platform for leftism.
Remaining as it is, the students that harass conservative members will continue to do so unchallenged. But more importantly, ASMSU will remain what it has become; a former student government that we have been unable to keep.
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