SA, Burt battle to protect students

You may never see my name plastered on the walls of the Marvin Center or on buttons worn by campaigners, but I am an officer of the Student Association. You don’t hear too much about other individuals in the executive branch, but they are the hardest working members of the organization. They are the ones who put together the Welcome Back Barbecue, brought Spa Pantene to campus and created the SA Web site. Their hard work is evident all over campus, and editorials like SA Senator Josh Rothstein’s (Burt Should Back off Program Board, Sept. 28) demean not only their efforts but the organization as a whole.Over the summer I called what seemed like every caterer in the metro area to service our campus-wide barbecue. I spent countless hours on the phone bargaining with various companies and settled on the most reasonable one. The caterer did cost $1,500, but we easily fed the same number of people. Not only was there free food, there were also many freebies like cups, pens and water bottles, all purchased from unused student group allocations left over from the previous fiscal year. Everyone who attended, which would have been most of the campus, had a great time. I’m sure even Rothstein did.The SA did in fact hold a unified retreat for the executive and legislative branches, and there was an after-party for this event. The party was a reward for the many accomplishments achieved over the summer and was also a celebration for the year ahead. Rothstein did not grace us with his presence at the retreat; eighty other people were there. Of course, he was there for the party. I did not hear him complain then when he and fifty other students were enjoying spinach dip.Contrary to what Rothstein led students to believe, the SA spends the vast majority of its money on programming and outreach to the entire student body. I think a better question to ask would be what does Rothstein plan to do with his $1,700 budget request for the Senate Academic Affairs Committee? Instead of wasting everyone’s time by discussing matters he obviously knows next to nothing about and advertising his ignorance in The Hatchet, why doesn’t he talk about what he is doing for students? Maybe the simple answer to that question is that he has not done anything and has nothing better to do than criticize those who do work.SA President David Burt has been crucified for questioning Program Board spending. Burt has never questioned the fact that PB plans good events. He was at Fall Fest with the rest of the campus. He has been to movie nights. He has even been the master of ceremonies for a PB event. Burt’s one and only problem with PB is the question of one student group receiving as much money as PB does.This question was raised not by Burt but by leaders of other student organizations who complained that their events did not get the co-sponsorship or support that PB claims to offer. PB only elects two people who decide how over $300,000 is allocated. The SA elects 32 students representing graduate and undergraduate programs who decide democratically how funds are allocated. The SA also has a system of checks and balances that makes sure that money is efficiently and effectively spent. Burt took a lot of criticism for taking on this seemingly beloved organization, but he has done so in his role as chief advocate for all GW students. However unpopular the issue may seem, his job is to question the status quo, to see if there is a better way of doing things.I encourage Rothstein to take a page from his own book and focus on how he spends his money and what he is doing to help his constituents rather than focusing on people who really do something meaningful with the money allocated to them. And fellow Columbian School of Arts and Sciences students, I encourage all of you to talk to your senator and ask him What have you done for me lately?

-The writer is SA chief of staff.

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