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Patrick Richardson: Student Government's values differ from the students’

By Patrick Richardson
On February 13, 2013

Last week, the Student Senate voted not to support a resolution that was in support of concealed carry on campus. The vote came just after the results of a campus wide poll on the issue were released. The poll showed that out of the 5,101 students that took the poll, 2,480 want concealed carry to be allowed on campus, 2,300 do not, and 321 were neutral on the subject. It was the Senate’s idea to postpone a vote on the legislation so the campus-wide poll could be conducted.

My question is — if the Senate wanted to take the time and resources of the executive branch and make them create a survey and answer questions from students all week, why did they choose to ignore the poll’s results? If the Senate is truly a representation of the students, the resolution would have passed, or at least have been close. The resolution was voted down in a secret ballot with nine votes supporting and 18 votes opposing. It is clear that the values of the Senate are not in line with the values of the student body which they claim to represent. If the Senate decides they don’t want to do their job and instead pass a decision along to the students, they should at least take the voting results into consideration when casting their vote in Senate. Whether you supported the concealed carry on campus resolution or not, you should be angry that the Student Senate administered a poll with the goal of making you think you actually have a voice here at UT when the reality is the poll was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

The Student Judiciary Council also gave their two cents on the issue at the Senate meeting. During the open floor portion of the meeting, a justice of the SJC stated that they found the concealed carry resolution to be “unconstitutional.” When asked what part of the constitution the resolution violated, or if it violated the UT Student Government Constitution, the Ohio Revised Code, or the U.S. Constitution, the justice had no reply and clearly did not know the answer to either question. If a branch of Student Government is going to make such a bold claim, they should be accountable to the students and back up their argument. The students should not stand for such misrepresentation.

I urge any of you to go to and find out who represents you in the Student Senate and who is on the Student Judiciary Council and let them know what you think. Let them know that you can see through the bureaucracy and corruption that affects many of the current Senators. Let them know that you deserve to be better represented.

Furthermore, run for Senate or apply to be a Justice. Many of the Senators run to represent their colleges in uncontested races and have forgotten what accountability means. It’s time the students remind them.

As I am a senior, my time has passed but for many students there is a great opportunity to get involved and represent your fellow students with courage, pride, and dignity. I would like to state that this letter is not directed at all members of Student Government and I believe many of the members in SG work tirelessly to make sure the student’s voice is heard.
I would also like to point out that nine senators did vote to support the resolution. Because the voting was done by secret ballot, we may never know who these nine great leaders are but they showed a great amount of bravery for doing the right thing and should be an example to the rest of Senate.

Patrick Richardson is a senior majoring in business.

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