Letters to the Editor

Money and resources

This letter is written in response to L. Asher Corson’s column, “The bloated student government,” from Oct. 11 (p. 4). As a student not involved with the SA, it took less than two hours to discover the following public information.

Corson condemns Woodard’s administration for using “student money frivolously,” yet he co-sponsored a bill to increase the SA student fee. If he was so enraged at the allocation process, why support giving more money to an organization one feels to be financially irresponsible?

Corson mentions that “students desperately need money for programming and funding.” The Senate Finance Committee allocates $115,000 to their co-sponsorship fund. It is prudent to under-fund most organizations, rather than have superfluous funds waiting to be reclaimed; rough estimations for the SA Reclamation Fund run between $45,000 and $60,000 per year. If students are so desperate for funding, why is so much money left over?

He noted that half of the $70,000 for the SA Executive was to be spent on “the fancy dinner and maintaining the SA office.” The dinner will cost, at the most, less than $7,000 (cost last year), leaving the remaining $28,000 for running the office. The office, open seven days, provides a variety of student services including copying old tests and directing students to appropriate resources.

The nine office assistants (OAs) are work-study students; they’re paid $9 per hour. The SA pays 25 percent and the rest is federally subsidized, meaning OAs cost the SA only $2,400 per year. As with any large organization, manpower is intrinsic to an office’s success. Meeting with administrators is free, but coordination and consolidation of student concerns costs money, .

The SA executive doesn’t have the luxury of requesting additional funds; therefore, it is logical to overestimate their needs. Moreover, the executive branch essentially funds seventeen student programming bodies. Hence, the president receives a budget of $35,000 for publicity and student programming.

There are avenues for dealing with concerns; including attending public Senate meetings. I know that about a dozen senators offered to pay the cost of their meals because they did not want to use SA funds; I believe Corson was one of them. If upset with the transition dinner, propose charging attendees a nominal fee to alleviate costs, rather than harping on an event not solely a product of the current administration. Corson’s column made overstated criticisms of the SA executive allocation, while not providing sufficient support; resulting in a poorly researched, one-sided admonition of Woodard’s administration.

-Brittany Baron, junior

Perpetuating sterotypes

For the past week, The Hatchet has run cover stories on the unfortunate situation involving two of our star basketball players, J.R. Pinnock and Pops Mensah-Bonsu (“Lulu’s accuses players of assault,” Oct. 4 and “Police probe fight,” Oct. 11). I notice that it now has a name – “the altercation at Lulu’s Mardi Gras.” But moreover, I also notice that the said altercation involves two well-known and successful black men and is being treated as a top-story headline.

I’m not one to play the “race card” very often. I’m not one to blame societal issues on one race or another. But as a black woman at GW, I have to be honest and say that I am appalled by the manner in which The Hatchet has portrayed this story.

On Oct. 4, the headline read: “Lulu’s accuses three basketball players of assault.” The article went on to discuss the story only through the eyes of the club management and a few bystanders who were standing outside, and only saw the aftermath. How does the mainstream news source on this campus run a story of this nature without any comment from actual eyewitnesses, some of whom know both Mensah-Bonsu and Pinnock well? Does The Hatchet mean to tell its readers that everyone closest to the matter has been rendered speechless? If one were to look deeper, I am more than certain they would find students who had more varied things say than “this kid (Pops) is a nice guy, I’m surprised he did this.” Not to mention the fact that it had to be pointed out that they may have harmed “possible GW students.”

But the deeper issue here is the blatant perpetuation of the “Angry Black Man,” seen through the likes Kobe Bryant, and even Theo from “The Real World: Chicago.” It inspires the fear of a black man terrorizing white people – an ugly and disturbing vestige of slavery and the reconstruction. A story about two black men fighting in a white-owned establishment still instantly becomes a cover story for the “independent student-run newspaper” at GW. This is an institution devoted to cultural diversity and, interestingly , located in a predominately black city. This saddens me.

Running this as a front page story is only part of the problem. As long The Hatchet allows for bias of this kind to be published, the belief that black men are angry, bestial, and only to be feared – not respected or loved – will survive.

I am not saying that “altercations” such as this are not appropriate topics on which to report. Yes, the students have the right to know. There is, however, a saying in journalism: get it first, but first, get it right.

-Loryn Wilson, junior

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