While Mr. O’Neil makes some halfway-decent points in his rather scatter-brained Feb. 4 op-ed (“PB: Lots of money, but little accountability,” p. 5), I would like to point out where he is either confused, mistaken or flat-out wrong.
First of all, the Program Board is directly accountable to the student body. Mr. O’Neil seems to have forgotten that both the executive chair and executive vice chair are directly elected by the students.
All the students.
That’s more than most Student Association senators can say, since most are elected out of their respective schools. If Mr. O’Neil, or any other GW student, feels that PB has done a poor job of programming, then make your voice heard now – it’s election time.
Second, I would like to point out that I have never met Mr. O’Neil. He has never visited the PB office, never called our office on the phone (to my knowledge) and never e-mailed me to express his unhappiness with our work.
Now, I can understand not having the time to visit or call, but an e-mail address takes 30 seconds to look up and a message takes all of 30 seconds to write. Mr. O’Neil should obviously be able to find a minute in his day to express his displeasure with PB directly – after all, he had the time to write a scathing opinion – before taking it beyond us to another venue.
That goes for all students who believe that we have shown “poor leadership,” “poor management” or anything else. Everyone is welcome to stop by our office (Marvin Center 429), call us (994-7313) or e-mail me personally (email@example.com) to discuss these issues. You could even be a part of helping us reach a solution.
With regard to our spending on office equipment – those purchases were decided upon after a financial analysis showed PB would save money over the long-term by having the ability to produce its marketing in-house. The cost savings comes to roughly $30,000 in materials alone, with an additional $60,000 saved in productivity and hours. That’s $90,000 of savings for a $30,000 investment. Sounds pretty good to me.
Lastly, Mr. O’Neil makes some very definite points about how difficult it is for student groups to spend SA funds. Making the PB accountable to the SA would accomplish nothing more than making it more difficult for PB to stage its programs. Besides, PB expenditures (unlike those of the SA) are approved by the Student Activities Center; that holds us pretty accountable.
Anybody who has extensive experience in dealing with both organizations will tell you that PB accomplishes more in less time than the SA does, because we’re supposed to. Programs that serve the entire University community take a lot of time, effort and, yes, money. If any student believes the money is not well-spent, make your voice heard.
The Program Board as an organization suffers because not enough people know a lot about what we do. Before anybody goes ahead and condemns this organization for whatever reason, I ask that you come to our next general meeting (Feb. 10 at 8:30 p.m.) and hear more about us. If, at that time, you still feel that PB is a problem, I will understand.
I think, however, that you will find a bunch of students like yourselves that work long hours for no pay to put on events for everyone to enjoy. Who knows? You might even join us. Everyone is welcome to, which makes us ultimately accountable to you.
-The writer is executive chair of the GW Program Board.