Last week, ASUAF’s new Vice-President Jay Leonard sent an e-mail to subscribers of the ASUAF list-serve asking that senators and cabinet members provide him with their e-mail addresses. Leonard didn’t provide any explanation in his message except that he wanted to create his own e-mail list rather than using the list-serve. The list-serve is semi-public; subscription requires approval from the moderator, but is open to non-members of ASUAF, so it has been an easy way for students (and reporters) to stay on top of ASUAF action (and, sometimes, inaction and drama).
Messages on the ASUAF list-serve frequently find their way into The Sun Star, whether it is a note about an appointment being filled, legislation to lobby for scholarships, or another action that affects students. If Leonard is moving discussion to a private list that the press and public don’t have access to, how much information are we going to lose?
Public notice of meetings is required by law and, legal or not, the public has the right to know what the government is doing, whether that government is federal or student. Public notice will probably still be sent out via the list-serve. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. Leonard’s message didn’t shed any light on what he plans to e-mail the new list about, so I don’t know what else we’ll still have access to. I hope the only information lost will be trivial debates and drama. But if the discussion and notification that once happened on the list-serve is moved to a private list, students will lose a major source of information about their elected officials.
At the end of his message, Leonard mentioned that he would send a copy of his resume out via his new e-mail list so that people could see it before his confirmation hearing. While there might not be a legal requirement that the constituents he’s going to serve are able to see it, wouldn’t it be nice if we could? As it stands now, the only thing we know from his list-serve message was listed at the end of his message as a signature: his degrees (a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy) and his class standing (senior).
That isn’t much for the rest of us to go by. Hopefully as the semester plays out, Leonard will allow the public to see the process by which he governs. It isn’t warranted yet, but if communication moves to elusive private venues, the recently departed student body president won’t be the only person connected to ASUAF that gets compared to Sarah Palin.