SGA appeals need more consistent scrutiny

by Beacon Staff • February 10, 2011

At issue:

SGA's capricious treatment of student appeals

Our take:

Voting members need to assess each appeal in equal detail

The Fashion Society thinks it’s a good idea to spend $6,000 for Nick Verreos to come to campus. Don’t remember him? Let us remind you: He finished fifth on Project Runway in 2005.

Surely there is a less-expensive, more fashion-forward option out there. And surely someone on the Student Government Association would question this decision. But no one did.

We expected the SGA to question whether Verreos was a good fit — to debate the Fashion Society’s appeal like Michael Kors debates pencil skirts.

But members of the SGA ate up the Fashion Society’s $7,788.86 appeal faster than starved models at a pile of celery sticks.

Only one member bothered to ask a question — and it was about lighting, of all things. There was no debate of how this very expensive speaker would benefit the community or whether he was necessary for the event’s success. The SGA passed the appeal for almost $8,000 in fewer than 25 minutes.

This concerns us. Over the years, the Beacon has sat in on numerous SGA meetings.  We’ve watched countless student leaders sweat in front of SGA, begging for nickels to send another delegate to New York, or to purchase a few extra copies of their publication. Sometimes those pour souls stand up at the front of the room for an hour while dissenting SGA members pick them to pieces over $100 expenditures. And sometimes an organization gets a rubber stamp for $7,788.86 before you can stammer, “That’s fierce.”

It’s as though the SGA — like fashion — is in a constant state of fluxury. Apparently, in student government, one day something is in, and the next, it’s out.

As students, we’d like to trust SGA members to treat each appeal with the same level of seriousness and professionalism. They cannot vote on one appeal as Heidi Klum and the next as Nina Garcia. We hate that when appeals go this smoothly, we have to wonder if it was because a senator was the one presenting.

Instead, we would love to see contemplative debate about every appeal. SGA, you have been entrusted with our money, and you should take that responsibility seriously. Frugality can’t come in and out of style as though it were a pair square-toed shoes. You should come to each meeting having done your homework — or at least having read the appeal — and plan to discuss each for a consistent period of time. Get your act together and “make it work.”