While the past Hatchet editorial “Sluggish SA” (Oct. 18, p. 4) brought an immediate response from the top of the SA ladder (I’ll get to that controversy in my next column), I am waiting to see what the SA’s response will be to the Oct. 25 Letter to the Editor “Rags for Rugby?” Given my past experiences in the SA, I thought I would use this column to try and help the Women’s Rugby team and other club sports get a little more out of the SA.
The SA has a whopping $400,000 to give a way ? no small sum especially when you consider that two years ago it only received $260,000. One would expect the wonderful SA Senate would use the new cash to build up smaller groups so they can be a larger part of student life. Or maybe even the SA could support club sports teams that are obviously struggling to acquire new uniforms and equipment.
Think again. This year the finance committee decided to squander the opportunity it had to significantly boost many organizations’ budgets by giving thousands more dollars to the same big student groups. While hiding behind percentage arguments, the committee attempted to give the medical school a $7,000 increase this year on top of the $5,000 increase they received last year. The interesting point is last year the medical school experienced declining enrollment and still received more money. As its enrollment declined, its senators deceived the campus community in The Hatchet by stating that the enrollment increased by 200, (“Funding Defense,” Oct. 12, 2000, p. 4) as a way to justify their funding increase.
Club sports are among the perennial pariahs of the SA finance committee. Regardless of the championships these teams win and the way they represent our student body on various athletic fields, they still are left to do it in rags. Our club teams win award after award ? hell, they even win national championships. Should they suffer because they do not have politicos on the finance committee advocating for their groups, bending the truth and even lying out of the pursuit of greed?
But all blame does not lie with the SA. If a student group does not apply for funds, the only way the finance committee will know its situation is if a medical school senator goes to a women’s rugby game, feels their pain and volunteers $800 of their huge stash of cash. But pigs may fly first. Short of this, I will recommend the following approaches to getting more money.
Even though the committee gave away a lot of money to large student groups, the biggest secret is they did leave $100,000 for student groups like the rugby team to apply for throughout the year. That money can be used for tournaments, conferences or events on campus. So instead of complaining to The Hatchet when something is amiss, I would suggest the team first apply for SA co-sponsorship before some large group who does not need the cash gets it first. This in itself requires students to go to the SA office and fill out a short form. In the past the finance committee gave $2,000 for students to go to a conference in Berkeley and $400 for an evening ski trip to Pennsylvania. Thus the team’s competition at nearby Lehigh University may be well funded.
When a group does get its money and it is not a just amount, I would definitely write a letter to The Hatchet. From past experience, SA officials are very sensitive when students imply they are not doing their jobs. There are also many eager SA senators who will be ready to take up your cause because they feel it may garner them votes in the next election. It does not hurt to go to a Senate meeting and whine. The group will at least be guaranteed to have someone come and say, “How can I help?” The senators use groups to get votes, so why not use them for some money?
Give it a try. It may just take your group or your team from rags to riches.
?The writer, a graduate student and former SA president, is coordinator for licensing and trademarks.