Leaving my sports blog for moment, I’ve been asked to make a guest appearance here to discuss my latest editorial 2006 should be the Student Association’s 1776 in which I call for a revolutionary reform of the way student government is organized at GW. I would like to shed a little light onto my thought process as a means to start some debate here on the merits of such a proposal.
Essentially fed up with what I’ve seen from the SA over my 3+ years writing opinions at the Hatchet, I thought I would take a shot at articulating what I think would be a better form of student representation for GW students. My proposal rests on the creation of two new entities.
One, an independant financial allocation committee, would assume the responsibility of disseminating funds to student groups for the year. Following a similar process that is now used in the SA, the committee would review the comprehensive budget requests of student organizations and a summary of the groups activities from the previous year in an effort to equitably distribute money to different organizations. Under this system, the SA would be required to submit a budget just like any other student organization. If the SA once again wastes student money and time, the financial panel could simply reduce the SA’s allocation substantially for the next year. This would be a powerful check on potential abuse of student money. I also believe that no member of the SA should be permitted to serve on the finance panel. After the work of distributing funds is done, the body would be disbanded. The creation of such a panel might even raise student confidence in the process enough to finally enact the necessary increase of the student activities fee to help better fund student groups.
The second plank of the proposal calls for the creation of a body representing student leaders from diverse types of student organizations on campus. I envision leaders from religious organizations, advocacy groups, club sports, Greek-letter life and other organizations coming together to honestly discuss pressing student concerns. The administration could empower this group by organizing monthly meetings with relevant administrators over matters of pressing policy. While the group would not necessarily have direct power to enact solutions, having a group of informed student leaders who are actually contributing to building student life at GW would greatly increase the likelihood that administrators might actually listen to what students have to say.
The creation of these two comittees would weaken the SA substantially. As I note in my column, the propensity to scandal is derived directly from the fact that the SA has been arbitrarily accorded absolute power over representing student interests. With the creation of these new bodies, the SA could easily be ignored if another scandal were to arise. In a new system of representation, the SA would be competing for legitimacy with other groups and hence, would be forced to shape up or risk becoming completely irrelevant.
Thanks for bearing with me. Let’s get some discussion started.