A senator’s view of a scandalous SA

It is pretty ironic that as a Student Association senator this semester I am taking a class on political ethics. The irony lies in the fact that this body may be the most corrupt that I have seen during my time at GW. Scandal after scandal has plagued us this year, and it is sadly very true that a few bad seeds have ruined the bunch. This year we have attempted to do great things that have a significant impact on the lives of students both academically and socially. We have listened to and worked on every major student issue. Legislation has been introduced urging the University to change its policy on studying abroad. We have also been working to get J Street establishments opened at 11 a.m. so that grad students have a place to eat before their classes. In addition, we are working to bring a better video rental option to campus. However, these three initiatives and many others like them have been overshadowed by numerous scandals that have plagued our organization.
The latest involves a friend of mine, which makes this situation even more difficult. What Executive Vice President Eric Daleo allegedly did was wrong, but it was not horrible. He should have asked the Senate’s permission to fund the Farmer’s Market. I know that if that had happened, I would have gladly voted to fund it, as would many other senators. Daleo is not the problem, however. The problem is the fact that once everyone found out about this, many members involved began trying to cover-up their role in the matter. Memos were sent around and ultimately the Finance Committee said that Daleo did nothing wrong. These are precisely the reasons why people hate our student government. How can we expect students to think that their allocations are fair, and that we are working to help them, when they read in the paper that the leaders of the Senate do not even follow their own rules with regard to spending money? I know that as a student I am sick of hearing about these problems, especially since they overshadow the good things that the SA is trying to do.
Another problem directly related to this is the fact that student group leaders sit on the Finance Committee. This is not only a conflict of interest; it is a lack of common sense on the part of the entire Senate, including me. This is especially true because the SA governing documents strictly prohibit such a situation from occurring. It is a shame that this bylaw violation was only discovered this week, as a conflict of interest has occurred on the Finance Committee for the entire year. I again ask how we as student leaders can think that student groups find their allocations fair when a situation like this occurs.
Unfortunately anything that is done to rectify these situations now will be too little, too late. This year is already lost amid the scandals and I can only hope that next year will be much smoother. Perhaps requiring all SA members to take political ethics would be a good start. One thing is clear however – we must work as an organization to stop these scandals from occurring, and we must work to bring student interest back to the organization that affects them so much. Only then will the SA be an effective body.
-The writer, a junior majoring in political communication, is a Columbian College of Arts and Sciences senator.
It is pretty ironic that as a Student Association senator this semester I am taking a class on political ethics. The irony lies in the fact that this body may be the most corrupt that I have seen during my time at GW. Scandal after scandal has plagued us this year, and it is sadly very true that a few bad seeds have ruined the bunch. This year we have attempted to do great things that have a significant impact on the lives of students both academically and socially. We have listened to and worked on every major student issue. Legislation has been introduced urging the University to change its policy on studying abroad. We have also been working to get J Street establishments opened at 11 a.m. so that grad students have a place to eat before their classes. In addition, we are working to bring a better video rental option to campus. However, these three initiatives and many others like them have been overshadowed by numerous scandals that have plagued our organization.

The latest involves a friend of mine, which makes this situation even more difficult. What Executive Vice President Eric Daleo allegedly did was wrong, but it was not horrible. He should have asked the Senate’s permission to fund the Farmer’s Market. I know that if that had happened, I would have gladly voted to fund it, as would many other senators. Daleo is not the problem, however. The problem is the fact that once everyone found out about this, many members involved began trying to cover-up their role in the matter. Memos were sent around and ultimately the Finance Committee said that Daleo did nothing wrong. These are precisely the reasons why people hate our student government. How can we expect students to think that their allocations are fair, and that we are working to help them, when they read in the paper that the leaders of the Senate do not even follow their own rules with regard to spending money? I know that as a student I am sick of hearing about these problems, especially since they overshadow the good things that the SA is trying to do.
Another problem directly related to this is the fact that student group leaders sit on the Finance Committee. This is not only a conflict of interest; it is a lack of common sense on the part of the entire Senate, including me. This is especially true because the SA governing documents strictly prohibit such a situation from occurring. It is a shame that this bylaw violation was only discovered this week, as a conflict of interest has occurred on the Finance Committee for the entire year. I again ask how we as student leaders can think that student groups find their allocations fair when a situation like this occurs.

Unfortunately anything that is done to rectify these situations now will be too little, too late. This year is already lost amid the scandals and I can only hope that next year will be much smoother. Perhaps requiring all SA members to take political ethics would be a good start. One thing is clear however – we must work as an organization to stop these scandals from occurring, and we must work to bring student interest back to the organization that affects them so much. Only then will the SA be an effective body.
-The writer, a junior majoring in political communication, is a Columbian College of Arts and Sciences senator.

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