USG Still Far From Goal of Transparency


The United Student Government (USG) at Rose Hill claimed that they wanted to emphasize transparency during the 2022-23 term, as this theme was central to the campaign platforms of many elected members. However, as this term comes to an end and the elections for the next cycle begins, it has become increasingly more apparent that USG is not living up to this goal. 

First, USG has decided to move the election process and candidate panels to later in the semester than usual. Last year, the election and panels happened in a slower part of the semester: early April, after midterms and before finals. This year, regardless of the true intention, it feels as though USG is trying to slide this election in under the radar at the end of April as student focus is pulled to finals and finishing the semester. This is the exact opposite of transparency.

Additionally, while USG has been posting on Instagram to get the word out about elections, it is not enough. It is especially easy to miss an Instagram story or post as it gets lost in the shuffle of an overwhelming onslaught of media students have to wade through. As the entire school is on the cusp of finals and Fordham students enter the busiest time of year, USG should take a more in-your-face approach to bringing attention to the election such as tabling events and hanging posters in classrooms and residence halls. It feels as if USG is trying to sneak this election in under the wire with hardly any advertising about it.

This lack of transparency on USG’s part is especially disappointing as many candidates ran on a platform of change during the 2022 election, and while the governing body have passed countless proposals and statements, the effects of these actions are intangible on the general student body. 

USG is forever discussing proposals during their meetings and in their emails, but have never taken the time to explain what a proposal even is, the process of creating a proposal and what happens once a proposal is approved or rejected. Many students and the community in general feel that USG writes a proposal, calls for a round of applause and nothing ever changes. 

The Ram reached out to Executive President Santiago Vidal Calvo, FCRH ’24, for an explanation of the function of proposals and the proposal process. Essentially, proposals are drafted by USG and sent to the offices they believe should be involved with the decision-making for that proposal. While the Ram was able to obtain this information through an email correspondence, the general student population does not have an easily accessible place to get that explanation. USG needs to get back to basics and explain what they even do for the student body and how they accomplish it. 

When the current executive ticket took office they too made several statements about changing and increasing the transparency between USG and the student body they represent. One promise they made before taking office was their “initiatives tracker” idea. The tracker was supposed to be sent out at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year so students could gain insight into what USG was actively trying to achieve on their behalf. The tracker was then supposed to be present at the end of the academic year to outline what was promised and what they ended up accomplishing. This tracker can be found on the USG website. However, many students are unaware of its existence as it has gone unpromoted. This goes to show that USG is not spreading their message in an effective way that students are aware that this tracker even exists. 

Many candidates in the 2022 election also claimed that they felt that the student body did not know what USG did or even who USG was. These candidates had high hopes of ensuring the student body became aware of USG’s presence and the work that they do, but as their term comes to an end, many students still have no idea what USG does. USG has broken yet another promise to the student body and did nothing to improve transparency this year.

Students will not be aware of what USG is doing without first knowing who USG is. They need to first work on getting students used to the organization and where to find information before adding an easily missable story or post to Instagram. They need to get out into the community and let students know that way who they are and what they are doing as this has issued the best results and most heavily attended events in the past. 

Students need a voice for their opinions on current affairs at the university, and they need this voice to advocate for the changes they want to see. In theory, this is what USG is supposed to be doing, but as they continuously fall short on their promises and fail to communicate in a transparent manner, they are no longer an effective advocate for the student body.