Titles deserve ink

IUS Horizon

The Horizon printed Jacob Korff’s name in the Police Blotter last week. We printed that he was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. And, for the first time with any Blotter inclusion, we included his title, Student Government Association vice president. And we make no apologies for it.

The SGA said in their last meeting that it was unfair to print Korff’s title when we have not done so for other entries.

Chief Justice Jeff Martin said if we are going to print SGA officers’ titles, we should print the titles of others, like if the IUS chess team captain or someone on the Dean’s list got arrested.

But the difference between the SGA officers and these other people is that SGA officers are elected by the student body. Some SGA members are appointed or elected by other SGA members, but because elected SGA officials are supposed to be representatives for the student body, these are sort of like indirect student elections.

The fact SGA officers are elected by the student body means they must be held to a higher accountability than other students or even student group leaders. They are elected to get something accomplished for the student body. They are supposed to be the voice of the students and they are supposed to do everything they can to help the students.
The chess team’s captain has no such responsibility and, therefore, should not be held to the same amount of accountability.

Korff said another reason the title shouldn’t have run is that he wasn’t representing the SGA at the time.

The SGA needs to realize the “G” in SGA stands for government. They are not a real, official government entity, but they have some of the same powers and functions. And they need to get used to experiencing some of the same scrutiny placed upon real-world public officials.

If a Louisville politician were arrested for OWI, does the SGA think the Courier-Journal would not mention his title because he was not representing Louisville at the time?

Martin said more than likely, no one would have known Korff was the SGA vice president if his title had not been next to his name in the police blotter.

That is exactly the reason it was right to run it.

Students need to know about the character of their elected officials to be able to decide if they are doing a good job and whether or not to vote for them again. It’s kind of the way democracy works.

I’m certainly not suggesting the current SGA would, but if no one knew about a leader engaging in criminal activity, they certainly could sweep it under the rug, so to speak, and Martin is right: very few people would actually know.

That’s why outside accountability is so important. If a future SGA group has the mind to be corrupt, without outside accountability, how would students know about any unethical or criminal activity within their representative body?

This way, it is in the open and it is up to the students and the SGA to decide if Korff’s crime is something over which action needs to be taken.

And as for other campus leaders, we agree it would probably be a good idea to list their titles as well. The problem is we are still working out a way to be able to do so thoroughly and fairly. There are a lot of student groups on campus and making a complete list of all their leaders and finding a mechanism to keep them current is going to be difficult.

We are trying to be as fair as possible in the implementation of our Police Blotter policies, so we need to wait until we have both of those items in place before we name any other titles.

None of the leaders of other campus groups were elected by the student body to fulfill a responsibility to the student body, so no one group should be held more accountable than the rest.

But in the mean time, SGA officers were elected by the student body to fulfill a responsibility to the student body, we have their names and titles, and we intend to use them.