April 28, 2003

My platform for 2003-04

Euler Bropleh, a junior international studies major, is president of the Student Government Association.

During the course of my administration, the honorable William M. Dooley will be changing his name. Not many Student Government Association (SGA) presidents can claim that such a historic event occurred during their tenure.

I hope and pray that Dooley’s new name is representative of a person that is as honorable and exceptional as his current namesake. And, should he need a sex change, Dooley can be comforted by the fact that Emory has one of the finest health sciences divisions in the country.

Emory soon will name the 19th president of the University. In welcoming this new leader, SGA and other major student organizations must work to ensure that the next president is aware of all student concerns and the way in which we feel they should be addressed. We should meet with the new president early and often to demonstrate our profound interest in the future of this University and our desire to see greater transparency and student involvement in decision-making processes.

Without increasing student involvement in decision making, Emory will continue to be plagued by a disease. Its name is secrecy. It permeates and disrupts the relationship between administrators and students, resulting in a lack of communication and, consequently, misunderstanding. All this leads to a campus with growing dissatisfaction and disdain for administrators, especially those who are making decisions without soliciting the input of the students who are affected the most.

This disease is infecting every part of the institution, from the Board of Trustees to student organizations. How can one take ownership and be proud and excited about something they know little about? How can people accept changes when little is done to explain the reasoning behind those changes?

Currently, students are not critically involved in the most influential decision-making body of the University: the Board of Trustees. Many of our peer institutions, including Duke, Cornell, Vanderbilt and many others, realized the importance of including students in decision making years ago. In order for Emory to truly gain a sense of unity, everyone must be given the chance to know and understand decision making at every level of the University.

To further promote greater understanding, I plan to work closely with members of the administration, faculty and staff in addressing student needs. Throughout my years at Emory, my experiences with faculty and staff have been very positive.

Continuing this positive relationship will be essential to my administration. In order for students to fully enjoy and benefit from their time here at Emory, they must have people who enrich that experience—that is the role of the faculty and staff.

Since I was elected president of SGA, I have met with many campus officials, administrators and students to discuss initiatives for the upcoming year. During this time I have undergone a slight transformation.

When the students of this University elected me as their president, they charged me with the responsibility of representing their views to the administration and with exercising sound judgment to ensure the improvement and progression of a vibrant and broad campus life. My transformation is this: Though I will always be objective and open to all ideas— especially those supported by students—my decisions and solution to problems may not always be the most popular, but they will always be what is in the best interest of the students and the University.

Let me highlight a few things that the Emory community should expect under my administration:

• The student body, my constituents, consists of both graduate and undergraduate students, even though the two groups are currently separated both physically and socially. With the creation of the Graduate/Undergraduate Relations Task Force, we will work toward creating a more cohesive community within the student body.

• Next on my list is the creation of a speaker’s series, bringing prominent individuals to discuss a wide array of topics.

• In an effort to further improve campus academic, social and recreational life, I will push for increased availability of facilities such as Cox Hall, Woodruff Library, the Dobbs Center, the P.E. Center and Dooley’s Den. To this end, I will also strongly advocate for the realization of the Campus Master Plan’s goal of making the Longstreet parking lot (located behind the Dobbs Center) into a green space, and promote moving the outdoor basketball court from Candler Field to this new space, centrally located on campus.

• Students have long demanded the publication of faculty evaluations, which would allow students to select professors whose teaching styles more closely fit how the students learn. Many of our peer institutions around the country have realized that the publication of faculty evaluations is beneficial for their students. I would expect Emory to do the same.

• Very few cities boast as many universities as Atlanta, and each can offer a great deal to the others. I would like to encourage greater interaction between these schools, intellectually and socially.

• The Druid Hills Civic Association and the DeKalb County sound ordinance has been a longstanding issue of concern. As good neighbors, we must work with those around us and abide by the laws that govern the society while advocating for the desired change. The noise ordinance has severely restricted our programming abilities. With other student leaders and University officials, I hope to reach a compromise with our neighbors that will grant us a few allowances to the ordinance throughout the course of the year.

• With the discussed sale of the sorority lodges, I want to ensure that Emory’s sorority women will be adequately accommodated and, in the event the buildings are sold, relocated as promptly as possible so as not to disrupt the Greek experience for current and future students.

• As far as I know—and as far as those who know more can recall—I am the first former president of the Oxford SGA to be elected president of SGA on the Atlanta campus. This speaks loudly about the length and bounds by which the relationship between the mother and daughter campuses has improved. When I was elected president at Oxford, I pledged to unite the two campuses. Because of our efforts, SGA now officially recognizes Oxford as a division of the University. While we’ve come a long way, there is still much to be done. I will promote the continued integration of Oxford College into the Emory community.

As John Lennon sang, “People say I’m a dreamer, but I am not the only one.” I hope that Emory will dream with me to make our dreams, desires and wishes a reality.

This essay was adapted from Bropleh’s State of the University address, delivered March 18 in Cox Hall.