This page originally intended on composing a staff editorial for this edition discussing the reasons we opposed the ballot referendum to increase the Student Activities Fee by $1. Our ability to do so, however, was negated by Student Association President Omar Woodard’s veto of the referendum legislation. While we are ardently opposed to entrusting the Student Association with more student money – given its precarious history of frivolous spending – the matter is for students, not Woodard, to ultimately decide.
In a similar editorial during last year’s election proceedings, we argued that given its history of being unable to handle student funds, the SA did not deserve any more money. This is not to say, however, that student groups do not desperate need more money; they do. Just as last year, the SA needs to prove for an entire year it can be trusted to control wasteful spending before giving it additional responsibilities. Because they need the money so badly, student groups should spend the next year demanding accountability from the SA to ensure they have enough money in the future.
Ahead of another vote next year, SA leaders should develop a plan through which not only more funds become available for student groups, but one in which future increases are tied to inflation to prevent contentious battles in the future.
Regardless of our opposition to the fee increase itself, Woodard should have given students the ability to decide on whether or not it should take effect. Woodard is a senior, and the money the SA can give to student groups is no longer an issue that affects him. Giving students the opportunity to affirm or reject it is an important facet of student democracy.
While this page’s suspicion is that the fee increase would ultimately be rejected as it was last year, a thriving student democracy requires students ultimately be given the final say.
This article appeared in the February 28, 2005 issue of the Hatchet.