Letters to the editor

Cut the crap

In the words of Paul Harvey, “the cat is out of the cellophane bag.” Headlining Thursday’s Hatchet was an article about misuse of student body funds by the Student Association (“SA forms reveal possible fund misuse” (Oct. 31, p.1). Well color me a bright shade of who gives a crap. If Sens. Jacobson, Hershfield and others think that spending $136 at Riverside Liquor is appalling, they should all resign now and get out of the SA before they discover how much corruption has infected that organization over the last ten years.

That’s right. For ten years, the SA has been misusing student body funds. Anyone who denies this is either lying or too naive for his own good. In fact, during Colonials Weekend I spoke with a dozen former SA hacks and now successful GW alumni who spun tales about all sorts of abuses that occurred in the SA.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what is known as the SA circle jerk. People who stand around and preach nonsense about working for students and improving GW, all the while spending thousands of dollars on catering for Senate meetings, University Club bills, expensive dinners, pizza parties and any other tangible benefit that can be squeaked out.

I was once at the center of all of this political back-scratching and back-stabbing trying to defend people that I thought shared a decent ideal and vision for the SA. The fact is, the people who are really working hard to make a difference get lost in the sea of political muck that consumes the SA. I know there are students who spend hours trying to resolve issues and create programming that make this University a little bit better, but their efforts will almost never be found on the front page of The Hatchet. Senators who have the ear of the media won’t let that happen because there is no political gain to be had from an article on the Foggy Bottom Cleanup or the Writing Across Curriculum program. These sorts of activities and initiatives are not important to many SA politicos because they are not scandalous newsmakers.

So, the solution? Senators need to sit down and shut the hell up. No one cares. If all you are going to do is work for your own political gain, please enroll at a different university that welcomes that sort of crap. And as soon as senators realize this, the people who can really make a difference can step up and improve this place.

-Zack Beyer,
senior, former SA Vice President for Judicial and Legislative Affairs

More transparency

As an active member of several student organizations, I am shocked and angry to hear about the possible misappropriations of Student Association funds. At the time of the alleged incident last year, I was the vice president of finance of the Parliamentary Debate Society. At the beginning of the year, when PDS received our $350 allocation toward our budget (which exceeds $16,000), I was promised that we would receive co-sponsorship funds whenever we applied for them, to a maximum of five times. By March of 2002, we had received co-sponsorship twice and were in the process of applying for two more events. These events were crucial to our organization’s continued existence, as they involved meetings of our national organization (the American Parliamentary Debate Association).

In the beginning of April, after many fruitless e-mails to SA officials, I was informed that the SA had run out of money; thus we could not receive co-sponsorship. I responded that this would run our organization into more than $1,000 in debt and that they had promised this would not happen. Eventually the SA “found” money somewhere for us to attend the National Championships; however, we received no money for the other event. As a result, PDS has an outstanding debt of several hundred dollars. I believed the SA when they told me they had run out of money. But if they could afford hundreds of dollars for “soda and ice” and juice, then I imagine there was more money floating around than they wanted their members to know about.

It is despicable that there is so little accountability in this system that disputes involving money for all students can be solved in “gentlemen’s agreements.” The SA is our student government and there ought to be enough transparency in its affairs to prevent such things from happening. We do not elect senators so that they can have drunken gatherings, much less without inviting us. We elect them to represent our interests. Clearly this happens much less frequently than we have been led to believe.

-Denise Schroeder

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