A few weeks ago, the Undergraduate Assembly was found guilty of hazing and alcohol violations at a new member initiation event held last year. Unfortunately, this is a symptom of a bigger problem: the UA has slowly but surely forgotten what we are elected to do.

The Undergraduate Assembly is the “representative branch of student government charged with improving life for students.” Unlike most groups, our primary goal has nothing to do with our members. Our job is to serve you.

So when the UA decided to take such a big risk, it was selfish. Knowing full well that if we were caught our projects could be derailed, the UA put its wants above your needs.

Last semester I was reviewing Office of Student Conduct policies to help students defend against bogus plagiarism charges and avoid Internet downloading penalties. Recognizing how hard it would be to review OSC while they were investigating us, we postponed the project until next fall.

When the UA fails to do its job, we lose your trust. And when we lose your trust, we lose the ability to do our job. Students are rightfully cynical of the UA and the work we do. Because of this, many UA members do not want to acknowledge we made a mess.

But I know being honest will restore what little faith you have left in student government. Because the truth is you deserve better. You deserve student leaders who place your needs above their own. And the UA needs to reach the high bar you set for us.

The UA is a service organization. It is time we return to our mission and fulfill the job you entrusted us to do.

Dan Bernick is a College sophomore from Mendota Heights, Minn. He is a College representative on the Undergraduate Assembly. His email address is bernick@sas.upenn.edu.

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