of Newly Elected Student Government Leaders
1. Now that you are elected, with whom can you meet, and what can you talk about?
- Student groups not recognized by the university?
- Companies seeking contracts or promotional assistance? (App developers, drink companies, etc)
- Faculty or staff members?
- Friends or students from outside the organization who are seeking information about student government?
2. What do you owe those who supported and elected you?
- Can you show favoritism to your campaign supporters?
- Should you appoint loyal supporters to available positions?
- Should you vote against or avoid collaboration with those who ran or worked against you?
3. Whom do you represent?
- Your personal values, priorities, and agenda?
- Your personal communities: a circle of friends, academic major, club affiliation, Greek organization, or the broader campus community?
- Student needs or the agenda of your student government organization?
- Broader state, regional, or national priorities?
4. Are you a public servant or politician – or both?
- Should you support good policies or your political interests and platform agenda?
- Should you focus on current student issues or themed committee work?
- Should you support good policies or the interests of friends?
- Should you support good policies or create political IOUs with other representatives, administrators, or organizations?
5. Where are your personal conflicts of interest?
- Other clubs or organizations?
- Greek life?
- Friendships and personal relationships?
- What, if anything, should you resign from?
- On what matters should you recuse yourself?
6. How do you honestly present your positions on issues?
- When do you reveal your position?
- Should you reveal why you voted for something? Do you need to explain the rationale behind your student government decisions?
- How do you present issues to students?
- Should you present dilemmas differently in order to appeal to administrators?
7. What ethical standards apply to the process of decision making and contracting?
- What are the standards of due consideration? What is fair treatment of petitioners?
- Should you favor or promote a student bid over a stronger non-student bid? Are you obligated to support or encourage student endeavors?
- At what point should informal arrangements give way to established procedures for bids and contracts?
- Should you contract with students or people that you know? Should you remove yourself from approval of a bid that involves a friend?
8. How can you use your power and position in other parts of your life?
- Can you use student government connections or networking to gain advantage in the job-seeking process?
- Do you use your title or organization’s seal in personal business?
- Should you favor your preferred charities, associations, etc.?
- Can you utilize student government resources to do personal work: homework, printing, etc.?
9. What gifts, benefits, and freebies can you take?
- How much student government funding should be used to develop the organization, purchase logo gear, and award members?
- What are the motives of others who may give you gifts or offer favors?
- What preferential treatment do you receive as a result of your position? Are there limits?
- What actually compromises you?
- What appears to compromise you?
10. How can you help those who seek your assistance?
- Clubs, student organizations, academic departments, or community groups
- Other student government representatives or campus leaders: I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine
- University administrators
- Building your own political IOUs
11. How can you work properly with university administration?
- When can you make specific requests of university administrators?
- What information is important for you to share with administrators?
- Should you fulfill the requests of university administrators?
- Are there different standards for meetings, conversations, correspondence, etc?
12. What information should you bring to your decisions?
- When should you solicit information from other sources?Should you speak from your own experience or gather feedback from students?
- Should you rely completely on the reports and recommendations of other student government leaders?
- Can you investigate issues personally? What ways and means are most effective to do this?
- In the face of a deeply divided student body, what criteria should you use to select a side?
13. What is personal integrity in student government life?
- Do you maintain the commitment to work hard and avoid burn out?
- Are you willing to speak the truth or dissent even if it is uncomfortable?
- Do you withstand the pressures to influence your votes?
- Do you resist the temptation to take advantage of your position?
- How do you represent the organization in your personal life and social behavior?
14. How do you handle conflicts between your roles?
- Differences between your role as a student representative and committee member
- Membership in multiple campus organizations
- Balancing your role as student and student leader
15. How do you deal with “friends” of student government?
- Former student government members
- University administrators and advisors
- How much loyalty should you show to people you have worked with before?
- In a hiring or appointment process, how much value should you assign to previous service in student government?
16. How do you function as a minority or even a whistle blower?
- Should you voice dissent from a majority position?
- How do you represent and support initiatives or laws, passed by the majority, with which you disagree?
- How do you balance presenting a united front as an organization while preserving healthy dissent?
- When can you criticize university policy or administration?
- When should you hold other members of student government accountable by reporting their behavior?
17. What level of respect and civility should exist among student leaders?
- What level of respect is required toward colleagues, staff, and the student body, especially when offering criticism?
- Toward those who ran, voted, or organized against you?
- Toward those you do not trust?
- When is it your duty to respect a decision you do not agree with?
- When should you solicit outside information or expertise? With whom can you discuss this?
- How can you build and sustain trust, within student government and with other student organizations?
18. How do you protect the confidentiality of information made available to you?
- Closed session or meeting confidentiality
- Personnel or disciplinary issues
- Contracting details
- How does social media play a role in this?
19. How do you deal ethically with the press, social media, and internet presence?
- Respecting the confidentiality of sessions and issues
- Accurately characterizing your views, your opponent’s views, and the organization’s views
- Distinguishing between personal and professional use of social media
- When should you use social media to reach out to students?
- How should this use influence the content of your social media sites?
20. How can you ethically campaign while in office?
- Making current decisions based on future campaign platforms, contributions, or support?
- Using insider information to favor your campaign?
- Using privileged access to student government resources and the community to favor or develop your campaign?
- Promoting initiatives solely to create a record for your campaign?
- Accurately representing your record and past role in government?