SGA turns blind eye to questionable College practices

Anyone who knows me will affirm that I love politics. I enjoy watching and working for elections. I like listening to talk radio hosts babble on and on about different candidates and why or why not they would be good choices for positions of power. I get a laugh watching politicians stab each other in the back with political attack ads and then try to say nice things about the other candidate.

However, despite all of the messiness of politics, I really love our democratic style of government. I really like the idea that if politician X does not please his constituents he can be removed, courtesy of his own constituents, the following November.

I agree that our particular system could be better, but for the most part our government has been effectual for over 200 years and continues to be so.

I’m afraid the College’s student government is in a different boat.

By the time this article is published, the College will have a new Student Government Association (SGA) exectuive board. My prayers are with this new government and I hope they do some good for this campus. I am not holding my breath though.

Every year it seems we are promised change, yet few if any major initiatives that affect the student body are passed.

Severe internal divisions over the effectiveness of its outgoing president, Pedro Khoury, have weakened this year’s SGA.

Unfortunately the race card was shamelessly thrown in and the campus became even more divided.

A messy internal squabble became a disastrous racial shouting match. I can only hope the students pick a candidate who will not have resort to such outrageous tactics to settle their internal disputes.

I realize that any shmuck can make negative comments about the status quo and not provide alternatives for the future. Therefore, as a guide for the future, I will offer my humble suggestions.

SGA’s multiple promises to deal with Sodexho have failed. Some time ago, SGA hailed an upcoming meeting with the corporate food giant to open up lines of communication (unfortunately often a buzz word meaning nothing but friendly chitchat will be accomplished).

At this meeting, students were allowed to ask very few questions before the Sodexho executives bailed from the information session.

After Matt Richman revealed Sodexho’s seemingly racist hiring and promotion practices, I am puzzled as to why the liberal College administration under President Gitenstein was not up in arms and demanding some sort of an investigation.

Regardless of past failures, the new SGA must tackle student concerns with the widely disliked eating service. If I was president, I would make the College and Sodexho answer student concerns rather than ignore them.

SGA also needs to look into the huge number of splinter clubs which are forming. Based on minority groups or academic interests, these groups now represent fewer and fewer people and yet require more funds.

Moreover, some of these clubs perform the same functions as other clubs and are therefore redundant.

Just as SGA needs to question the administration’s Sodexho policy, the Student Finance Board (SFB) needs to exercise greater freedom from administration control.

According a reliable source within SFB, the organization is required to fund child care and other services for the campus from the Student Activity Fund (SAF).

Unfortunately, the administration does not seem to understand the definition of SAF so I will say it again. The money is for the students’ activities and nothing else.

We already have to pay exorbitant fees. Why should more of our funds be transferred to other areas?

The College also needs to stop relying on SFB to finance mandatory department-run trips. Students should never be required to go to a conference without sufficient funds from that specific department.

It is unfair to burden SFB and the student body with trips from which only one department will benefit.

I would also propose an investigation into the safety of some of the older buildings on campus.

I am not comfortable with putting students in buildings that are not structurally sound. We have seen over the past year that Norsworthy Hall’s roof has caved in twice.

This is simply unacceptable. The new SGA president needs to fight for the safety and well-being of the students.

The Print Sense initiative is turning some heads as well this year. The idea of limiting students to 400 copies has made some students uneasy, especially those in heavy research majors. I think this initiative is ridiculous – raise our fees a little and buy some more paper and toner!

Print Sense makes very little sense to me. What next? Having a limit on the amount of water one can drink from the water fountains or how many times a person can use the toilet? Or how about a toll to walk into the student center?

The College gets enough of our money. They can tighten their belt and pay for some more paper instead of inconveniencing everyone on campus.

So, in closing, future leaders of SGA, please do something constructive this year. Stop bickering, stop forming cliques and work for the students who elected you.

There are a lot of issues out there that you can take on to better the campus.