SGA Report Card: C+
Student Government Association (SGA) President and Vice President Leslie Hutchings and Athul Ravunniarath have done everything that they set out to do in the platform when they ran last March. They have taken all the measures they promised to in order to make underrepresented groups at Colby feel more comfortable. And in an academic year defined by issues of multiculturalism, gender and sexuality, Hutchings and Ravunniarath admirably support many other student leaders and activists fighting for the same issues upon which the president and vice president based their campaign. However, in their crusade for the underrepresented, SGA’s executive leadership seems to have largely ignored the rest of campus.
Hutchings and Ravunniarath have had a reputation for not working well with other groups within SGA for several years, but rather preferring to work on projects exclusively with each other, and the effects of this tendency have shown on this year. Several members of the executive board agree that the group did not function much as a team, but rather that everyone seemed to work individually on their own projects. This strategy worked well for some positions, but it also caused many problems. Publicity Chair Justin Rouse expressed his frustration multiple times throughout the year about Hutchings and Ravunniarath’s tendency not to give him any information with which he could publicize their initiatives until the initiatives were actually finished, leaving the great majority of the student population in the dark about what exactly SGA was working on currently. While it is one thing for a corporation like Apple Computer to keep their innovations in the dark, we would have liked to have seen more transparency and opportunity for student input from a government association. It is a sad sign of the innefectiveness of SGA's publicity efforts when most of the staff in our office had to think for a minute or two to answer the question, "what has SGA done this year?"
Moreover, while many of the more motivated members of SGA have been able to punch through significant motions beyond the scope of Hutchings and Ravunniarath’s agenda, like Junior Class President Laura Maloney’s video program with the Library and or East Quad Dorm President Morgan Lingar’s dorm damage reform, most dorm presidents did not appear particularly motivated by the senior leadership to engage in SGA very enthusiastically. The low point of this dorm president apathy was when the executive board made the decision to no longer require dorm presidents to write newsletters (their only required duty aside from showing up to meetings).
We will not be able to truly measure how effective the Hutchings/Ravunniarath administration was for several years. If programs like the social class and learning disabilities task force do lead to significant change in the future, then this average grade will be undeservedly low. However, given the duo’s notoriety for working so independently of the rest of SGA and the fact that the Maloney/Rouse administration expressed desire to focus on the Colby community on a larger scale, there is no SGA representative who appears to be ready or willing to carry any of the initiatives Hutchings and Ravunniarath started much further on after the tandem graduates in a few weeks.