Three-quarters of next year’s Student Association Senate Finance Committee are graduate students, a figure that has some worried about the group’s ability to fairly allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars to student organizations.
The Finance Committee is tasked with allocating student fee money to student organizations, a majority of which are run by undergraduates. The outgoing Finance Committee is split evenly between graduates and undergraduates, but six of the eight committee members next year will be graduate students.
SA Sen. Logan Dobson, CCAS-U, has expressed concern over the skewed graduate membership of the committee.
“Grad students, traditionally, have been a lot more focused on financial issues in the SA and a lot less focused on other general student issues,” said Dobson, a sophomore.
He added that most of the graduate schools have one central student organization, which Dobson said results in strong ties to organizations and conflicts of interest.
“It creates conflict with the undergraduate student body because these orgs are exclusive to grad students and do little to no outreach to undergrads,” Dobson said.
SA Sen.-elect Connor Walsh, U-At Large – the new finance chair and one of the two undergraduate senators on the committee – said he is not concerned that having a majority of graduate students could alter the allocation process.
“While I realize graduates and undergraduates have many different goals, every one of us has a vested interest in enhanced student life at GW,” said Walsh, a junior. “I have full faith that they will be fair and objective jurors when it comes to allocation of funds and co-sponsorships.”
The committee’s graduate senators said they are similarly confident that their majority position will not cause conflict.