Like many student organizations at GW, the College Democrats are disappointed with our final budget allocation from the Student Association. More importantly, however, we are frustrated with an allocation process that is not transparent and fails to allow student organizations to voice their grievances adequately.
Though the SA has taken great strides to build a healthier relationship between student organizations and the SA, even going so far as to assign senators to every student organization, it forfeited much of this success at the SA budget allocation meeting last Tuesday night. The Senate chose to abandon its responsibility to students by continually pressing the body to force an early vote on the allocations bill before multiple senators could be granted the opportunity to speak on behalf of the student organizations they were elected to represent. At the bare minimum, senators should have enough respect for their colleagues to hear them out.
Kevin Kozlowski, who led the appeal process for us, was assigned as the liaison between the College Democrats and the SA. We were told to discuss any concerns we had with him and did so when we were dissatisfied with our initial allocation (even after we went through the finance committee appeal).
When Kevin and other senators did advocate for their student organizations, the organizations were chastised for having “friends in the SA” and for “receiving special consideration.” For the many years that College Democrats has been on this campus, the appeal in front of the full Senate has been an integral part of the securing our funding because the seven minutes extended to us in the initial appeal before the finance committee is simply not enough time to adequately describe our needs.
Many of the senators elected last spring ran on a platform of supporting and building a relationship with student organizations. If the biggest mistake senators who advocated for student organizations made were to be friends with their respective organizations, then quite frankly, they were the only ones doing their jobs on Tuesday night. Moving to close the debate before dissatisfied student organizations can be heard neglects the promise many of these Senators made to fully represent and stand up for them.
On a final note, we want to thank the senators who did step up and advocate for student organizations on Tuesday night. Their leadership in representing students and promoting student life should be emulated by others.
The Student Association has the potential to do great things for this campus, but for that to happen the SA must begin alleviating this disconnect between students and their representatives in the SA. Severing the representation of students in one of the most important SA meetings of the year so that senators can go home early is egregiously irresponsible and completely unacceptable.
-The Executive Board of the College Democrats