On Friday, March 31, campus revolutionary Rob Callahan announced that he intends to become president of the Student Body.
Well known for years of on-campus political activism, and seemingly above the
juvenile pettiness displayed by past and present Student Senates, Callahan
surprised the staff of SGU with his announcement. In order to gain some insight into the motivation behind
Callahan's decision, we tracked him down on Monday afternoon and he agreed to grant
us a brief interview:
SGU - The obvious question on everybody's mind is, "Why? What made you decide to run?"
CALLAHAN - Well, I hate to say it, but our Senate doesn't do its job. It
hasn't in all of the time I've been here. A Student Government, by definition,
should represent the interests of the dtudent body, but our so-called representatives
spend their time fraternizing with SCSU administration, trying to climb the Saint
Cloud social ladder, and padding their resumes. That's not the job of a representative,
certainly not of an elected representative.
SGU - People have been asking you to run for months now, but you've always
said you wouldn't. Was that just to throw your opponents off?
CALLAHAN - No. I really had no intention of running for most of that time.
But after so many people approached me about it, well, I guess you could say the
seed was planted. What finally moved me to make up my mind though was a conversation
I had with a close friend of mine on Thursday night, the night before the application
was due. She was trying to convince me, and I was humoring her argument, when she
said something that really made me take notice. She told me, "If you were really
serious about your commitment to the students here, you'd get into a position where
you can do something about it." Well, we talked about it some more, but at that point
my mind was made up. I've been very critical of Student Government in the past, and
my criticisms have always been warranted, but based on the talk I had with my friend,
I believe that the system is not beyond redemption. It simply needs someone with
a good heart and a little honesty to get it going in the right direction.
SGU - So we can assume that, as president, you won't carry on the legacy that
Pesola, Hansen and Hovanetz have left us with?
CALLAHAN - First, let me say yes, you can assume that I will not carry on
that legacy. But it's important not to trivialize the very serious problem within
Student Government as simply "the past presidents' legacy". What we really have is an
unfortunate situation in which one extremely corrupt administration set precedence
that still affects us to this day. Those who come in under this legacy are viewing
Student Government as a chance to network with some of Saint Cloud's upper crust,
and as a place to see just how far they can go, how many rules they can bend and
break, without being held accountable. Let me just also say that I have never
been a part of this legacy. In fact, I'm so unwelcome within its ranks that current
president Kat Pesola has actually recruited someone from outside of the Senate, with
absolutely no experience, to run against me. This, in itself, is a sign of the changing
times. Student Government has been about as corrupt as a governing body can be, and
now the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way. Those within who are corrupt
can't get support to maintain their system from within, so they resort to desparate
SGU - Aside from guiding Student Government into a new era of integrity and
accountability, what will Rob Callahan change in Student Government?
CALLAHAN - I think Rob Callahan can offer the student body something it hasn't
had for a very long time: a representative body that truly speaks on their behalf
and in their best interests, a representative body who, for instance, would have opposed
last year's 7% tuition hike. A representative body who would consider the concerns
of any student who approached it, and not just the members of a few privileged
organizations. One that might have given more consideration to the students'
opinions before give Pepsi an on-campus monopoly, and one that would take the
students' side in a conflict between students and the institution. I know it
sounds crazy but, believe it or not, that's what the democratic process is all about.
SGU - What about experience? Don't you think somebody like Eric Wimberger,
with past experience, would be a better choice?
CALLAHAN - I am a former Senator myself, as well as a former delegate to
Atwood Center Council and to MSUSA. If anyone tells you I don't have the experience
for this position, they are engaging in slander. Aside from my experience within
the Senate, I've been a student leader on this campus for almost four years now.
I've put my own life and livelihood on the line for the students, time and time
again. Eric Wimberger is great with numbers, and I'd be glad to consider him for
Finance or Fee Allocation Chair, but the fact of the matter is that I am the only
candidate who has consistently proven his unwavering commitment to the rights of
his fellow students.