Should Voting Totals from SGA Elections Be Public?

The Student Government Association at Butler University is refusing to release the full results from its recent elections, placing the organization at odds with the school’s campus newspaper and students favoring transparency.  The fight raises an interesting question: How open should student governments be when releasing the results of its own elections?

While the election victors have been announced, a request by The Butler Collegian to review the actual voting numbers has been denied (a recent temporary approval turned out to be short-lived).  SGA representatives have told the Collegian and stated publicly at an SGA meeting that they feel the process is already adequately vetted internally and that making the final voting tallies public may embarrass losing candidates.  One rep: “It would discourage people from participating in student government.  We don’t need that on this campus.”

In a recent staff editorial, the Collegian dismisses the latter complaint as akin to saying “SGA doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”  As the paper contends, “This argument is moot and implies that college students can’t handle disappointment.  Candidates who apply for these positions need to have a thick enough skin to hear the truth.  It should be expected that presidential candidates enter this race knowing only one person will win and that they are opening themselves up to public scrutiny.”

The Collegian and others also argue that openness should be implicit within any group controlling $700,000 in student money.  Separately, while the SGA declares its current voting oversight “fool-proof,” there are only four individuals privately checking it.  As one Butler student told the paper, “It’s ridiculous and kind of sketchy that only four people actually see these numbers.”

And so again, the question of the night, slightly reworded from the start: What is the proper level of transparency for student government elections?


Butler University Student Newspaper Criticizes Faculty Senate for Approving Closed-Door Meetings

3 Responses to “Should Voting Totals from SGA Elections Be Public?”
  1. Anonymous says:

    i think that the student government should be decided by seeing who can hold their bladder the longest. The winner would be transparent then.

    • Dan says:

      I concur that bladder discipline is an obviously important part of student government work. :)

  2. boxendine says:

    Student Government election results should be posted at all times, at all colleges and universities, including private institutions. Transparency is wise! The American Student Government Association advises our 1,100 member institutions to release the results of their elections.