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This past Tuesday, Nov. 5, voters across Harris County went to the polls to cast ballots in local elections. Here at Rice, 851 individuals voted at the Rice Memorial Center. Many important municipal positions were on the ballot, including the Houston mayoral and city council races, along with Texas constitutional propositions. However, a number of Rice students who tried to vote at the RMC did not have an equal opportunity due to gross violations of one of our most essential rights.
During our time in the Student Association Senate, we’ve seen and experienced how students can be cynical about the SA’s leadership, efficacy and ability to reach all members of the student body. The SA Senate has fallen short on several occasions, and we have a responsibility to proactively address shortcomings and critically evaluate how it can better serve the student body. However, lasting change takes time and forethought, as evidenced by the three-year process that it took to thoughtfully revise our current constitution. Since then, SA members have successfully advocated for further structural changes to improve the organization and make it more accessible. Never once during that process has one student, let alone one who has never held a position in the SA, declared to have all the answers to how a body representing 4,000 unique students could make itself better.