Forum: Student groups respond to SA funding

Allocation procedure fair
by Emily Horne

I was incredibly disappointed by The Hatchet editorial “Money talks” (Oct. 10, p.4), which called the College Democrats and College Republicans “over-funded” and that, in providing them with generous allocations, the Student Association is “blind to the campus atmosphere.”

In fact, in providing these groups with the funds needed to finance their group activities, the SA has shown that it is directly in tune with what the general student body wants and needs. GW is nationally known for being among the most politically active campuses in the world, and keeping its flagship political organizations well-funded is essential to preserving that reputation. Though the diversity of student groups is undeniably important, flagship groups like the CDs are what help to make GW a competitive and well-known university.

The factors that The Hatchet suggested be considered in determining allocations only strengthen my argument. “Enhancement of GW’s status by excelling in their field.” GW CDs is one of the five largest chapters in the nation and is one of only six universities to have members serving on the College Democrats of America executive board. In the last two years, we have had members speak on MSNBC, CNN and C-SPAN and be interviewed for U.S. News and World Report, The Washington Post and the New York Times.

The Hatchet also suggests community service a group does as a guideline. CDs have an elected community service director who organizes projects throughout the D.C. area. And as for “size of group,” oh, try a membership listserv of over 500 students.

And finally, my personal favorite criterion that The Hatchet suggests – “what a group provides to the general student body.” The contributions that CDs (as well as groups such as CRs) makes to the campus atmosphere are essential parts of why GW is such a terrific school. Think back to when you were applying to colleges and what made GW stand out in your mind. Was it the great stores in Georgetown or the restaurants in Adams Morgan? The gorgeous campus Quad? Hardly.

Nine times out of 10, the answer has something to do with the dynamic political atmosphere that the University is known for. CDs is one of the best links to getting involved in that atmosphere, providing campaign trips and opportunities to hear amazing speakers such as Al Gore, Paul Wellstone, Joe Lieberman, Tom Daschle and others, and helping students get access to the best internships and get to know peers with similar political mindsets. The environment we have helped to sponsor has made immeasurable contributions to the University.

It is a shame that there are only limited resources for student groups at this University. Some organizations think the best way to get more money next time around is to point fingers and accuse their fellow students of being undeserving of generous allocations. The CDs refuse to play that game and say we are more worthy of SA funding than other groups. We would rather let our membership, our events, our rich history and our national reputation speak for themselves. In a perfect world, student groups would not feel as though they had to compete against each other for funding from the SA. We would be able to work together for our common goals, focusing on how we can pool resources to create a more involved and passionate school. Nevertheless, the GW CDs have shown repeatedly that we are worthy of the generosity that the SA has shown us.

-The writer, a junior majoring in history,
is College Democrats events director.

SA not focusing on students
by Brett Kaplan and Mike Sheils

Once again, the Student Association is more about politics than about the students. After speaking on behalf of our student group and watching others do the same, the SA Senate refused to budge. Under no circumstances are we going to point fingers at other student groups’ allocations, but the process by which funds are distributed certainly needs to be addressed. Why do student groups have finance hearings when they are just going to receive the “standard” five percent increase? Why do student groups even bother to present their annual budgets if the decisions have already been made? The Finance Committee seemed to understand the changes WRGW, the GW radio station, has implemented this year but, when it really matters, they are all talk.

Last year we thought WRGW finally earned respect from the SA when it was granted its allocation. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. The fact of the matter is that the quality of WRGW programming is reaching new levels.

We were more shocked than upset that WRGW’s initial allocation was almost a 50 percent cut from last year’s allocation. After speaking with the Finance Committee, it remains unclear as to why WRGW stands with its hands tied.

WRGW is the essence of what a student organization should be. Our efforts are geared toward providing services to our student body, as well as to those in the greater D.C. metropolitan area. WRGW broadcasts quality programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week. WRGW puts on amazing concerts every four to six weeks and is proud to work with other groups such as the Program Board, Liquid Arts and the Student Activities Center.

The 175 students that work hard everyday at WRGW make sure that they are a dominant source for campus news, sports and entertainment. Being that WRGW is a media broadcaster, operating expenses are unavoidable. Recent developments in Congress have made things difficult for Webcasters like WRGW, as The Hatchet reported on Sept. 9 (“Fees threaten WRGW,” p.1). The SA Senate’s decision to slash WRGW’s allocation is unjustified and uncalled for.

This practice should not be tolerated by any student group. The only people losing in this situation are the students. We will now be forced to use funds previously designated for programming for standard operating purposes.

Despite the cutback in our allocated budget, WRGW will continue to provide quality programming, bring amazing acts to campus and broadcast every men’s and women’s basketball game. Due to the Senate’s devotion to politics instead of students, accomplishing this task will be a true struggle.

-Brett Kaplan, a senior majoring in electronic media and political science, is WRGW general manager. Mike Sheils, a senior majoring in entrepreneurship and small business, is WRGW program director.

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