OSA rejects United Council’s legitimacy

Mallory Radney

An issue between the Oshkosh Student Association and United Council has become a struggle for legitimacy after much collaboration between leaders and peers, OSA Vice President Graham Sparks said. Sparks said United Council believes they are the statewide student organization that represents all UW students at the state level. However, none of the leaders of United Council are elected by every student body. “It is a contradiction if all members of United Council are not able to serve as a legitimately, student-elected leader,” Sparks said. Sparks said all other 26 student governance organizations across the state are elected by their student bodies and many people think this gives more legitimacy to the student governments, as opposed to United Council. According to OSA Senator Benjamin Stepanek, the relationship between OSA and United Council has been very tense lately. Stepanek said after United Council demonstrated mismanagement and a lack of transparency, OSA decided to cut ties with it, and he believes United Council is now under new leadership to work to change the system and these issues. “I would assume when United Council can demonstrate it is effective, OSA will reexamine the decision to break ties, and I think United Council can be a positive thing for campus organizations once they get their act together,” Stepanek said. United Council could not be reached for comment. Sparks said United Council’s history of preparing students in action is extremely important to student involvement and student action today. “Leadership is about knowing one’s role in the process of making positive change for a better tomorrow,” Sparks said. Sparks said with the UW System facing a budget cut, people are still concerned with power and legitimacy. “One thing that I have taken away from my political science degree here at UW Oshkosh is we get the government that we deserve,” Sparks said. Sparks said the OSA Student Senate passed a resolution last year, which states the official stance OSA has with United Council. “Because it’s been a year since its passage through the Senate and Assembly, I do think it would be appropriate to bring it back to discuss, but that responsibility falls on our Student Senate and our student body as a whole,” Sparks said. Sparks said if there are members of the student body that would like to see change in the relationship between OSA and United Council, any student has the power to let him or OSA President Jordan Schettle know. “Currently, President Schettle and myself have not been approached by any UWO student wanting to change the relationship OSA has with United Council,” Sparks said. Sparks said he and Schettle are not concerned with power or legitimacy; they want their positions to represent the student body of UWO. “The ability to execute our duties effectively is supported by our professionalism, respect and understanding for the situation at hand and our legitimate right to represent all students here at UWO,” Sparks said. Sparks said United Council has a place on every campus, but the students are responsible for letting their student government know what they want out of the relationship between the two. “Until that occurs, President Schettle and myself will be focusing our efforts towards solving our budget crisis with the respected leaders of our University, our community and our state,” Sparks said.