The recent Student Association decision to allocate $6,000 to the GW FEED initiative is cause for concern as it both circumvented the prescribed SA procedure for granting funds and is utilizing those funds for less-than appropriate endeavors. While it is commendable that the SA is working to get involved with larger Foggy Bottom social issues, this could be the beginning of a very slippery slope.
Normal SA procedure calls for the approval of the finance committee. When the SA was first approached in this case for $15,000, the request was denied. Instead $6,000 was granted to the project but in a way that has many worried that it is a dangerous precedent. Chair of GW FEED Sen. O.G. Oyiborhoro (CCAS-U) even told The Hatchet, “We set a precedent which has never been done before.”
Just as this page pointed out in the case of the West End Library controversy, regulations are in place to ensure a fair process. In this instance, many SA senators support the endeavor but question its legitimacy of the method in which the funding was accomplished. Although this vote had timing contraints, that does not mean the entirety of the SA should be compromised. It is hard to think of the SA as a respectable governing body of student funds if this is their way of going about official business.
The meaning behind the initiative is commendable, but a closer look at the plans for the funds reveals that $6,000 will go toward T-shirts, buttons, banners and other material to promote a local homelessness campaign. Raising awareness of a daunting social issue is a key aspect to any campaign, but the entirety of these funds will be going to things for students rather than food and blankets, for example, for the homeless people of Foggy Bottom. GW students should be willing and able to help the homeless without a new T-shirt proclaiming such a good deed.
While it is encouraging that the SA wants to be involved with combating an overwhelming social problem and attempting to get GW students involved with such a project, the methods in practice for funding allotments must be abided by and serious focus placed on the end product of such an investment.