As the campus’ legislative liaison (government relations) the past 14 ½ years, I’ve attended many SGA Senate meetings throughout the years and have worked collaboratively with student leaders and their administrations of all political stripes. Starting with SGA President Jessica Hussein in 1996 through this academic year’s Rutledge SGA administration, I have had the pleasure to work with many wonderful young campus leaders. Whether left, right, Green Party, independent, I have sought to work in a positive fashion with the student leadership voted in by their student peers throughout the years.
But as I sat in last Thursday evening’s SGA senate meeting (public forum) something gave me pause. SGA leadership, senators, and impassioned UWSP students and former students rose to state their positions before their peers on the proposed Pointer Compact (differential tuition). It was no Christmas miracle per se… but what I witnessed that evening was an affirmation of the finest ideals of Jefferson, Madison, and many of our founding fathers.
While democracy, civil debate, and the art of compromise may be sorely lacking in the present-day Madison Legislature and U.S. Congress, for a brief moment last Thursday three generations of SGA leadership rose to the moment and held a discussion/debate that would have made Abraham Lincoln proud. This is what democracy looks like!
Understanding both sides of the differential tuition debate, I could not be prouder of UWSP students, past and present, who gave voice to their positions without acrimony or name calling. All who took part in last Thursday’s forum deserve high praise.
Leaders are born in such crucibles. I believe many leaders last Thursday evening were born and Wisconsin will be a better place as these Pointers take wing beyond these hallowed halls in the coming years.
Thomas M. Miller