Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

January 16, 2014

Student Government faces disinterest, not exclusivity

Editor, Townsman:

In recent months, the Andover High School Student Government has faced a series of attacks regarding its legitimacy. Inherent in these attacks were fallacies that must be clarified in order to continue healthy discourse.

The first fallacy is that Student Government does not represent the views of Andover High School students. The reasoning for this statement is that there are relatively few students in Student Government and that not everyone can join Student Government.

To address the issue of our lack of students, our members represent 100 percent of the members who applied. Our application process is meant to separate students who are likely to be committed members from those who aren’t likely. Thus far, all of the applicants have been identified as the former. This means that the lack of students is due to a disinterest from the student body and not from exclusivity.

It has also been claimed that Student Government is not an open forum. This is simply false. We hold weekly meetings on Thursday afternoons at 2:15 p.m. that are completely open to the public. Anyone can attend and contribute. Unfortunately, lack of student interest and participation has meant that we’ve had few outside attendees.

The final misconception that we would like to address is that Student Government would be more effective if the officials were elected. However, there have been legitimate concerns that such a process would disintegrate into a popularity contest. By maintaining our application process (which is overseen by an adult advisor), we ensure that any committed prospective member is able to join.

It is important to note that we are not contending that Student Government is a perfect entity. We encourage all of our critics to participate in productive criticism by voicing their concerns at our meetings. Continually writing misinformed attacks online only encourages divisiveness.

Jason Grosz

Andover High School

Student Government representative

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